Creative Minds: Mapping the Biocircuitry of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Creative Minds: Mapping the Biocircuitry of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Creative Minds: Mapping the Biocircuitry of Schizophrenia and Bipolar DisorderPosted on September 28th, 2017 by Dr. Francis CollinsAs a graduate student in the 1980s, Bruce Yankner wondered what if cancer-causing genes switched on in non-dividing neurons of the brain. The discovery set Yankner on a career path to study normal changes in the aging human brain and their connection to neurodegenerative diseases. To further explore these leads, Yankner and Church are producing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from the adult skin cells of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. With FISSEQ, Yankner and Church can observe genome-wide differences in transcriptional activity in individual cells without disrupting the brain’s complex biocircuitry. As Yankner, Church, and their teams continue to make great technological and research strides, clinical progress is expected to follow—and we need that as soon as possible.

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