University of Nebraska Medical Center

Avinash Veerappa, PhD

Instructor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Anatomy


Headshot of Avinash Veerappa ,PhD
Dr. Veerappa's research is centered around integrating genetics and computational genomics, with a focus on developing novel tools and pipelines to model biological systems and investigate the complexities of human diseases and disorders.
  • Post-doc, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
  • PhD, University of Mysore, Karnataka, India

Substance use circuitry

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a complex and multifaceted condition characterized by persistent craving, pleasure, and reward that ultimately leads to addiction. Dr. Veerappa's research focuses on the molecular and neural mechanisms underlying the development and progression of SUD, as well as the de-addiction process. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how chronic substance use induces maladaptive circuits in the brain that lead to addiction. Dr. Veerappa hypothesizes that chronic substance use induces significant alterations in the global transcriptome signatures of the brain, leading to pruning of maladaptive neural circuits that drive addiction. Furthermore, he believes that comparing global transcriptome signatures between chronic and acute substance users, as well as those in withdrawal, will help in understanding the various waypoints in the evolving landscape of substance user brains. By gaining a better understanding of the molecular and neural mechanisms involved in addiction, we can develop more effective treatment strategies to combat SUD. However, recognizing the neural circuits related to substance addiction requires a synthesis of OMICS perspectives to delineate how cell-autonomous molecular adaptations in vulnerable individuals drive the altered functioning of the larger neural circuits within which those cells operate, and how circuit-level disruptions caused by drugs contribute to the cells' molecular adaptations. We explore DNA variants that impart susceptibility and use transcriptome and chromatin state assays to further understand the dynamics guided by footprinting, transcription factor co-occurrence, motif enrichment, transcriptional networks, and circDNA to best answer through an iterative process.

Selected Publications
  1. AM Veerappa, P Padakannaya and NB Ramachandra. Copy number variation-based polymorphism in a new pseudoautosomal region 3 (PAR3) of a human X-chromosome- transposed region (XTR) in the Y chromosome. Functional & Integrative Genomics, Springer, 2013, 1-9.
  2. AM Veerappa, M Saldanha, P Padakannaya and NB Ramachandra. Family-based genome- wide copy number scan identifies five new genes of dyslexia involved in dendritic spinal plasticity. Journal of Human Genetics, Nature Publishing Group, 2013, 1-8.
  3. AM Veerappa, S Vishweswaraiah, K Lingaiah, M Murthy, DS Manjegowda, R Nayaka and NB Ramachandra. Unraveling the Complexity of Human Olfactory Receptor Repertoire by Copy Number Analysis across Population Using High Resolution Arrays. PloS onePublic Library of Science, 2013, e6684.