Megan Key is a student in the Neurobiology Curriculum will be applying tissue clearing approaches to mouse and human brain. Welcome Megan!
Mike Lafferty is a graduate student in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program who will be working on QTL analyses. Welcome Mike!
Here is a brief description of what we're doing in the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-analsysis (ENIGMA) consortium. Thanks to Paul Thompson, Aggie McMahon, and Sophia Thomopoulos for putting this together!
Through a collaborative effort between the CHARGE and ENIGMA consortia, we identified 6 loci influencing the structure of the human hippocampus. Interestingly, genetic variants decreasing hippocampal volume in the general population are associated with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. The study was published in Nature Communications.
We welcome 3 new members to the Stein lab! Shana Hall is a postdoc with Jessica Cohen and doing a postdoctoral rotation in our lab to work on imaging genetics projects. Zach Humphrey and Tianyi Liu are both undergraduates working on automated recognition of cells within 3D microscopy images of the brain.
Congrats to Hyejung Won in Dan Geschwind's lab for publishing a paper in Nature on chromatin interaction via Hi-C in the developing human brain. This paper gives new insights into the genes (mis)regulated by schizophrenia risk alleles. We find that genetic variants associated with risk for schizophrenia in non-coding and functionally undefined regions of the genome are physically interacting with some previously suspected genes as well as some new genes. One step closer to understanding the biological pathways creating genetic risk for a complicated psychiatric disease.
Our most recent paper of the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-analysis consortium was just published in Nature Neuroscience. We identified 7 loci significantly influencing the structure of the human brain, some near very interesting neural genes (IGF1, FOXO3). Most interesting is the genetic correlation between intracranial volume and adult cognitive ability - the same genetic variants that influence the size of your brain also (in part) influence your cognitive ability later in life! Pretty exciting functional impacts of structural differences.
Along with Ashok Krishnamurthy of RENCI (co-PI) and Guorong Wu of the BRIC (co-PI), we were funded for our proposal to develop a unified computational framework for analysis, storage, and visualization of 3D brain microscopy data from the NSF.
We welcome Oleh Krupa, a graduate student in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC - Chapel Hill and NC State, program to the lab!
We welcome Dan Liang, a graduate student in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program to the lab!
We published a review in Nature Medicine on autism genetics and neurobiology. We present on what we view as the current state of the field, showing that there is much genetic variation creating risk for autism yet to be discovered. We also detail some of the neurobiological hypotheses that have been put forward based on the genetic findings. Finally, we talk about the model systems used to study autism and their results as well as limitations.
Angela Elwell will begin as our lab manager/research specialist starting April 11th. Welcome Angela!
We published a paper in Nature Neuroscience about whether genetic variants which affect subcortical brain structure also affect risk for schizophrenia. Despite known volumetric differences in these structure in patients versus controls we find surprisingly little genetic overlap. A detailed description of the findings of this paper and their implications can be found in this video.