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.