The human brain presents some of the most interesting problems for biology, but also some of its most fundamental challenges, arising from its extreme diversity of cell types and its inviolability as a tissue for study in living individuals. As a result, our understanding of disease mechanisms, and ability to treat disorders of the brain, lags far behind our understanding of other tissues. I will first share our work to try to understand the human genome’s largest apparent influence on risk of schizophrenia, involving common genetic variation in the Major Histocompatibility Complex locus. We have worked for several years to try to find the responsible genes and alleles that give rise to this effect. This work has led us to a surprising discovery about a neuroimmune pathophysiological mechanism. I will then share our work to develop Drop-seq, a new technology for analyzing gene expression patterns in thousands of individual cells. I will describe some of the neurobiological problems to which we are now applying Drop-seq.
Steve McCarroll is Director of Genetics for the Broad Institute’s Stanley Centre for Psychiatric Research and an Assistant Professor in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Genetics. McCarroll’s research draws upon his training in neuroscience and human genetics. He earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco in the lab of Cori Bargmann. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Broad Institute core member David Altshuler, studying human genome variation and the genetic basis of common disease.
At the conclusion of this talk, drinks and nibbles will be served in the Level 7 Terrace at QBI from 5.00 - 6.00pm.