Biorxiv pre-print posted on evolutionary genomics of human brain Structure

Together with Simon Fisher and Amanda Tilot, we just submitted a biorxiv pre-print on how genetic variation through our evolutionary history impacted modern human brain structure. Interesting findings include that variation present within human-specific regulatory elements present in the developing cortex, prior to birth, have a strong impact on adult brain structure. And, alleles with evidence of selective pressure over very recent time scales (in evolutionary history) have impacts on specific brain regions, including those involved in spoken language and visual processing. Read more about this work here: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/703793v1.

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SPARK grant acquired to identify common variants associated with autism

Our lab and the lab of Hyejung Won (wonlab.org) acquired a grant from the Simons Foundation to identify common genetic variants associated with risk for autism. Our shared postdoc Nana Matoba is working on this project. Thanks to the Simons Foundation for their support and we hope to add to the list of common genetic variants creating risk for autism.

https://www.sfari.org/2019/03/28/sfari-announces-genomic-analysis-for-autism-risk-variants-in-spark-awardees/

Grad students win awards at the UNC Genetics Retreat in Wilmington

Dan Liang was selected to give a talk on the genetic influences of chromatin accessibility during human neuronal differentiation at the UNC genetics retreat in Wilmington, and won the best student talk of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program. Congrats Dan! Mike Lafferty presented a poster on miRNAs involved in human neurogenesis and won a best student poster award for the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program. Congrats Mike!

Moving to Mary Ellen Jones Building at UNC

We are moving on March 19th, along with the UNC Neuroscience Center, to the newly renovated, window filled, Mary Ellen Jones Building! Looks really beautiful and will be a great place to do some genetics and brain science.

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Teaching middle schoolers about the brain

Today we taught some middle school students about how genetics shapes the brain, and let them explore a human brain in virtual reality.

Andrew S. Rachlin UNC Neuroscience Symposium

The Stein lab co-organized the Andrew S. Rachlin UNC Neuroscience Symposium this year. Thanks to Dan Geschwind and Flora Vaccarino for coming as our keynote speakers, and to all the local speakers for a fascinating seminar! Hope it leads to future collaborations and projects on tackling neuropsychiatric disorder genetics here in the triangle area.

Stein lab at the Walk for Hope

We ran the 5k (Jason) and 10k (Tianyi) at the Walk for Hope to raise money for the Foundation of Hope. This is a great organization supporting research into mental health, including supporting some of our work. https://walkforhope.com/

UNC ARVR Interest Group meeting 6/28/18: Mapping the Mouse Brain in 3D using Virtual Reality

Stein Lab and our collaborator Dr. Guorong Wu were invited to speak at the UNC ARVR Interest Group Meeting to demo our work with mapping a mouse brain in 3D and visualizing human brain networks using virtual reality.

"Come and join us for a talk by Dr. Jason Stein and Dr. Guorong Wu of the Neuroscience Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Stein will be talking about his work using Virtual Reality to map the mouse brain in 3D. The mouse brain has over 100 million nuclei, and current approaches that to mapping each nucleus, which involves combining 2D data, is slow and cumbersome.  Dr. Wu will demo his lab’s work on visualizing the human brain network. They will present a 3D virtual reality (VR) environment to visualize the human brain connectome data for neuroscience and clinical application. Their VR environment provides a user-friendly interface and allows users to interact with the display of region-to-region connectivity in the whole brain. In addition, they integrate computational component of brain network analysis, multi-channel data fusion scenario, and a set of auxiliary functions into our VR environment. These features make their VR environment an efficient and innovative platform to analyze human brain connectome data. All are welcome."

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Zach Humphrey showing a fellow Tarheel our virtual reality system.

Mapping the Mouse Brain in 3D using Virtual Reality a talk by Dr. Jason Stein and Dr. Guorong Wu of the Neuroscience Center at UNC-Chapel Hill for the AR/VR Interest Group meeting on June 28, 2018.

Tianyi Liu awarded Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

Congratulations to our undergraduate student Tianyi Liu for being awarded the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) from UNC-Chapel Hill!  Tianyi was selected by Honors Carolina to receive a William W. and Ida W. Taylor Honors Mentored Research Fellowship within SURF.  The competition for this award was intense, 135 applications from a variety of fields were received and only 62 were awarded.  Stein Lab and SURF are looking forward to seeing the results from the fellowship.

Oleh Krupa receives travel award

Congratulations to Biomedical Engineering graduate student Oleh Krupa, who received a trainee travel award to attend the April 2018 BRAIN Initiative PI meeting in Washington, DC!

Paper published in Cell on the Dynamic Landscape of Open Chromatin during Human Neurogenesis

Our paper was just published in Cell on the Dynamic Landscape of Open Chromatin during Human Neurogenesis.  In this paper, we've mapped previously unknown regulatory elements to genes during human neurogenesis - including with genetically engineered validation of novel regulatory elements of EOMES and FGFR11, we identified some novel transcription factors that may be related to human neurogenesis, and finally we found that genetic variation within proliferation related regulatory elements impacts adult brain size and risk for neuropsychiatric diseases.

http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)31494-0

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