PGC-PTSD GWAS paper published in Nature Genetics
The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium published the largest GWAS on PTSD to date including over 30,000 PTSD cases and 170,000 controls. Lead by the labs of Caroline Nievergelt, Karestan Koenen, Israel Liberzon and Kerry Ressler, this study shows that risk for PTSD after a traumatic event is partially heritable with a significant shared liability between PTSD and other psychiatric disorders. Notably, this study included individuals from diverse ethnic groups and suggest that the genetic risk for disease may be ancestry-specific.
Effects of Trauma across Generations in Monkeys
In collaboration with Mar Sanchez’ lab at the Yerkes National Primate Center at Emory University, we published a paper on the effects of infant maltreatment in rhesus monkeys on epigenetic programming across generations. Infant maltreatment in rhesus monkeys is a highly translational model of childhood maltreatment in humans and we now show the long-lasting effects even across generation. Infant maltreatment in mothers leads to functional DNA methylation changes in the gene FKBP5 in offspring even when they were raised by foster mothers. This is the first well-controlled example for intergenerational effects of maltreatment on epigenetic programming in non-human primates.
Circular RNAs in schizophrenia
Circular RNAs are a large group of non-coding RNAs expressed in the mammalian brain. In collaboration with Sabina Berretta’s lab at McLean Hospital and Fabio Macciardi’s lab at UC Irvine, we profiled circRNAs in post-mortem brain tissue of individuals with schizophrenia and controls. We found evidence for a dysregulated expression of circLARP1B, a circRNA from the LARP1B RNA-binding protein locus. Follow-up studies on the functional role of circLARP1B in schizophrenia suggest a role in isoform-specific expression control and downstream RNA stability providing new mechanistic insight into schizophrenia.