Why this lab and why the research?  

       As many as 450 million people worldwide suffer from a mental or behavioral disorder, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are two of the six leading causes of years lived with disability. Identification of the genetic factors of bipolar and schizophrenia disease will improve our understanding of these complex diseases, and will lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

What do we do?

       Our lab focuses on using a comprehensive approach comprising genetics, bioinformatics, genomics, and animal models to identify the molecular mechanisms of major psychiatric diseases, particularly bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

       Our long term goal is to host a series of research projects which first use integrated approaches to identify genetic factors of psychiatric disease, then use animal models to study their in vivo biological functions.

Who supports our research?

       This lab receives support from several NIH grants, including: 1) “The Genetic and Genomic Study of MicroRNAs in Bipolar and Schizophrenia," which studies the connections between microRNAs and psychiatric diseases using state-of-the-art high throughput sequencing and genotyping technologies; 2) “Genetic Linkage Studies in Bipolar Disorder," which studies candidate genes and copy number variation; 3) “Genomic Association Study of Bipolar Disorder," which analyzes genome-wide association and copy number in bipolar disorder; 4) "A Human-Specific Gene (G72/G30) in Transgenic Mice," which studies biological function of a primate-specific schizophrenia-risk gene G72/G30.

       We are also supported by the Brain Research Foundation, the Geraldi Norton Foundation and the Eklund Family. Funding from these private foundations allows us to study gene expression regulatory elements in the human brain and the DNA copy number variants that may be involved in psychiatric diseases. We have established a platform for creating new computational tools that can be used in complex disease genetic studies.

Who and what do we have?

       Currently, we have two postdoctoral fellows, two technologists, two undergraduate students, one visiting Ph.D student, one visiting professor, and two programmers. We have about 1500 sq. ft. of laboratory and office spaces, and about $1 million of instrumentation. We also have access to shared core facilities.