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Sarven H. Sabunciyan, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Sarven H. Sabunciyan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Research Interests: Repetitive Element; RNA; Mental Illnesses; Epigenetics

Background

Dr. Sabunciyan’s work is focused on identifying the etiology of psychiatric disorders. He uses high throughput sequencing methods to characterize RNAs that are differentially expressed in brain and peripheral tissues between disease cases and unaffected controls. His work has discovered that repetitive sequences are abundantly expressed in the human cortex and widespread splicing of these sequences into coding regions of gene mRNAs occurs in many tissues. His group is currently trying to determine the functional implications of repetitive element splicing in the cell. In addition, Dr. Sabunciyan is investigating the potential role of circulating RNAs in brain development using animal models. Dr. Sabunciyan’s body of work includes genome wide characterizations of the methylome and the transcriptome in psychiatric disease. He has also been involved in the development of novel bioinformatics tools for analyzing high throughput sequencing data.

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Titles

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Education

Degrees

  • B.S., University of British Columbia (Canada) (1992)
  • Ph.D., University of British Columbia (Canada) (2001)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Sabunciyan’s work is focused on identifying the etiology of psychiatric disorders. He uses high throughput sequencing methods to characterize RNAs that are differentially expressed in brain and peripheral tissues between disease cases and unaffected controls. His work has discovered that repetitive sequences are abundantly expressed in the human cortex and widespread splicing of these sequences into coding regions of gene mRNAs occurs in many tissues. His group is currently trying to determine the functional implications of repetitive element splicing in the cell. In addition, Dr. Sabunciyan is investigating the potential role of circulating RNAs in brain development using animal models. Dr. Sabunciyan’s body of work includes genome wide characterizations of the methylome and the transcriptome in psychiatric disease. He has also been involved in the development of novel bioinformatics tools for analyzing high throughput sequencing data.

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Darby MM, Leek JT, Langmead B, Yolken RH, Sabunciyan S. Widespread splicing of repetitive element loci into coding regions of gene transcripts. Human molecular genetics. 2016; 25(22):4962-4982. PubMed [journal] PMID: 28171598

Darby MM, Yolken RH, Sabunciyan S. Consistently altered expression of gene sets in postmortem brains of individuals with major psychiatric disorders. Translational psychiatry. 2016; 6(9):e890. PubMed [journal] PMID: 27622934, PMCID: PMC5048210

Tyekucheva S, Yolken RH, McCombie WR, Parla J, Kramer M, Wheelan SJ, Sabunciyan S. Establishing the baseline level of repetitive element expression in the human cortex. BMC genomics. 2011; 12:495. PubMed [journal] PMID: 21985647, PMCID:PMC3207997

Sabunciyan S, Aryee MJ, Irizarry RA, Rongione M, Webster MJ, Kaufman WE, Murakami P, Lessard A, Yolken RH, Feinberg AP, Potash JB. Genome-wide DNA methylation scan in major depressive disorder. PloS one. 2012; 7(4):e34451. PubMed [journal] PMID:22511943, PMCID: PMC3325245

Sabunciyan S, Maher B, Bahn S, Dickerson F, Yolken RH. Association of DNA Methylation with Acute Mania and Inflammatory Markers. PloS one. 2015;10(7):e0132001. PubMed [journal] PMID: 26147665, PMCID: PMC4492496

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