Retrospective Neurogenomics in the Mouse

2017 Scientific Innovations Award
Schahram Akbarian, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Department of Neuroscience
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Many genetic factors or environmental exposures impact the immature brain in childhood or early adolescence, but cause psychiatric disease only at much later periods in life. These molecular mechanisms include changes in gene expression and genome function. To date, however, it is not possible to study these mechanisms in longitudinal context across the lifespan. Our project will explore, for the first time, novel approaches that allow the retrospective assessment of genome function in brain cells from an adult animal, dating back to the period when that animal was a juvenile. If successful, such type of molecular ‘back-to-the-past’ approach will provide a critical bridge linking early life exposures to brain dysfunction in the adult.

Other Awards

Angelique Bordey, Ph.D., Yale University
The Role of Ribosomes in Synaptic Circuit Formation and Socio-Communicative Deficits
Our proposal aims at identifying a molecular mechanism responsible for autism-like socio-communicative defects in the developmental disorder, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). TSC is a genetic disorder with a 30-60% incidence…
Adam E. Cohen, Ph.D., Harvard University
To spike or not to spike? Mapping dendritic computations in vivo.
The brain is made of neurons, and neurons convert synaptic inputs to spiking outputs. How does a neuron decide when to spike?
Gina Turrigiano, Ph.D., Brandeis University
Homeostatic Maintenance of Neocortical Excitation-inhibition Balance by Ciliary Neuropeptidergic Signaling
Brain circuit wiring is adjusted during adolescence to generate fully functional circuits, and this process depends on an interaction between genetics and experience. During this period of experience-dependent development, excitatory…
Gregory Scherrer, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mechanisms of Affective States and Drug Discovery at the Intersection of Chronic Pain and Opioid Addiction
Pain is normally a sensation that we experience when our body is exposed to damaging stimuli, such as the noxious heat of an open flame. However, when chronic, pain becomes…