Epigenetics of central nervous system

Our lab is exploring the epigenetic or chromatin remodeling mechanisms in complex disorders of brain and behavior, the neuropsychiatric disorders, in particular, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying etiopathophysiology of affective disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Using mouse models, we study how chronic environmental perturbations such as stress cause alterations in circuitry controlling mood and emotions, by inducing lasting changes in function of many genes via events at the chromatin level (i.e., epigenetic mechanisms). We are also trying to figure out the epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in neural stem cell biology, i.e. neurogenesis and gliogenesis in adult mouse brain, using both in vitro and in situ approaches. This approach might also give us clue to the etiopathology of brain tumors such as astrocytoma or glioblastoma. Our earlier expertise in apoptosis and tumor biology research and the latest one in genome-wide epigenenomics come together in zeroing in on the etiopathology of cancer of nervous system origin.

Our lab recently discovered dysregulation of few of the histone lysine methyl transferases (KMTs) and a number of histone lysine demethylases (KDMs) in striatum, the critical neural substrate in brain reward pathway, and also in neurogenic dentate gyrus (DG), critical neural substrate in cognitive pathway, associated with mood disorders. One of the KDMs, a novel gene with a Jumonji domain, a RIKEN, is being characterized and investigated thoroughly in the brain physiology and pathophysiology.

More details about ongoing research is provided on our projects page.