laboratory of EPIGENETIC regulation OF THE human BRAIN

The goal of our research is to explore the organization and packaging of the genome (which is comprised of 6 billion basepairs) inside the nuclei of human brain cells, including potential alterations in psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, depression and autism. We study histone modifications and variants, chromosomal loopings and other building blocks of the epigenome in human brain tissue collected postmortem across the lifespan. This descriptive work is complemented by a discovery-based approach in genetically engineered mice and cell culture systems, aimed at novel chromatin-associated mechanisms governing the brain's cognitive and affective states.

Research Projects and Experimental Approaches

  • Histone methylation landscapes in developing and diseased human prefrontal cortex
  • Human-specific signatures in neuronal epigenome from the cerebral cortex
  • Remodeling neuronal chromatin in mouse models for depression and schizophrenia

PUBLICATIONS Schahram Akbarian

We explore epigenetic regulation of gene expression, in order to identify epigenetic drug targets and novel treatment avenues for psychosis, depression and other psychiatric disease.

Schahram Akbarian, MD




Bharadwaj, R*, Peter CJ*, Jiang Y*, Roussos P, Vogel-Cierna A, Shen E, Mitchell A, Mao W, Whittle C, Dincer A, Jakovcevski M, Pothula V, Rasmussen TP, Giakoumaki SG, Bitsios P, Sherif A, Gardner PD, Ernst P, Ghose S, Sklar P, Haroutunian V, Tamminga C, Myers RH, Futai K, Wood MA, Akbarian S (* share first authorship) Conserved higher order chromatin regulates NMDA receptor gene expression and cognition. NEURON 84: 997-1008. PMID: 25467983. 2014.


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Ican School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
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