JOINED THE SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL IN 2015
Professor, Departments of Psychiatry & Cell and Developmental Biology
Dr. Nancy L. Gary Endowed Chair in Children’s Mental Disorders Research
Director, Neurodevelopmental and Neuropsychiatric Genetics Lab.
University of Colorado, Denver
My research focuses on understanding the molecular, cellular and biochemical mechanisms underlying genetic susceptibility to severe neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia; with a view to identifying affected neurobiological processes and cellular pathways for the development of next generation treatments. As a basic neuroscientist, with strong training in molecular genetics and cell biology, I have focused my laboratories research on a multidisciplinary, translational neuroscience approach to understanding neurocognitive and neurodevelopmental disorders, combining studies of human postmortem brain tissue, human peripheral cell systems, primary cell culture models and transgenic animal models with neuropharmacology and clinical genetics.
In recent years, my research has focused on the Neuregulin family of genes (NRG1, NRG3), some of the most robustly linked schizophrenia susceptibility genes, their receptor ErbB4 and the downstream phosphoinositide3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT pathway, as it relates to neurodevelopment, adult brain function and behavior. My research has defined molecular and cellular mechanisms behind the genetic association of the NRG1, NRG3 and ErbB4 genes with psychosis and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, which involve differential genetic control of transcriptional regulation and splicing and identified target proteins within the pathway which have shown promising results as antipsychotic and procognitive drug treatment targets.
NARSAD Grants: Young Investigator 2006
Foundation Prizes: 2011 Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Prize for Innovative and Promising Schizophrenia Research