Munroe-Meyer Institute
Karoly Mirnics, MD, PhD

Director and Hattie B. Munroe Professor of Psychiatry
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Research Summary: In our first major project we are trying to understand how different inhibitory brain cell types control various behaviors, focusing on those inhibitory interneurons with different mechanisms of action. Furthermore, we are trying to understand how this process is influenced by prenatal maternal immune challenge. We are taking advantage of a novel transgenic mouse technology developed in our laboratory. Our second major project is testing the vulnerability of the DHCR7+/- gene mutation carriers to aripiprazole (an atypical antipsychotic) and trazodone (an antidepressant) exposure. We investigate biochemical, gene expression and behavioral consequences of the interaction between the DHCR7+/- gene mutation and treatment, assessing the long-lasting effects on the progeny. In addition, we are pursuing smaller projects that focus on the transcriptome changes across human brain disorders, generate and evaluate animal models of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders (autism and schizophrenia) and investigate effects of gene-environment interplay and how it effects the developing brain. Finally, we are also interested in understanding neuroprotection by activity and are searching for peripheral biomarkers of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. For these studies, we are employing state of the art molecular and cell biology, biochemical, drug screening and behavioral assays. Web site: www.mirnicslab.org