The Feinberg Laboratory studies the epigenetic basis of normal development and disease, including cancer, aging and neuropsychiatric illness. Early work from our group involved the discovery of altered DNA methylation in cancer as well as common epigenetic (methylation and imprinting) variants in the population that may be responsible for a significant population-attributable risk of cancer.
Over the last few years, we have pioneered the field of epigenomics (i.e., epigenetics at a genome-scale level), founding the first NIH-supported NIH epigenome center in the country and developing many novel tools for molecular and statistical analysis. Current research examines the mechanisms of epigenetic modification, the epigenetic basis of cancer, the invention of new molecular, statistical, and epidemiological tools for genome-scale epigenetics and the epigenetic basis of neuropsychiatric disease, including schizophrenia and autism.
The Brown Lab is focused on the function of the cerebral cortex in the brain, which underlies our ability to interact with our environment through sensory perception and voluntary movement. Our research takes a bottom-up approach to understanding how the circuits of this massively interconnected network of neurons are functionally organized, and how dysfunction in these circuits contributes to neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism and schizophrenia.
By combining electrophysiological and optogenetic approaches with anatomical and genetic techniques for identifying cell populations and pathways, the Brown Lab is defining the synaptic interactions among different classes of cortical neurons and determining how long-range and local inputs are integrated within cortical circuits.
In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, corticospinal and spinal motor neurons progressively degenerate. The Brown Lab is examining how abnormal ...activity within cortical circuits contributes to the selective degeneration of corticospinal motor neurons in an effort to identify new mechanisms for treating this disease.
Abnormalities in the organization of cortical circuits and synapses have been identified in genetic and anatomical studies of neuropsychiatric disease. We are interested in the impact these abnormalities have on cortical processing and their contribution to the disordered cognition typical of autism and schizophrenia.
Work in the Margaret Daniele Fallin Lab focuses on the genetic epidemiology of neuropsychiatric conditions. Our team primarily studies the genetic basis of autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We also explore the integration of genetic susceptibility and environmental risk. Our current research involves applying genetic epidemiology methods to develop applications and methods for epigenetic epidemiology, with a focus on mental health and development.