Functional genomics of brain development and disease
Each person’s distinct genetic, epigenetic, and environmental risk profile predisposes them to some phenotypes and confers resilience to others. My laboratory seeks to decode highly complex genetic insights into medically actionable information, better connecting the expanding list of genetic loci associated with human disease to pathophysiology. We employ a functional genomics approach that integrates stem cell models and genome engineering to resolve the impact of patient-specific variants across cell types, genetic backgrounds, and environmental conditions. Individually small risk effects combine to yield much larger impacts in aggregate, but the interactions between the myriad variants remain undetermined. Our goal is to improve diagnostics, predict clinical trajectories, and identify pre-symptomatic points of therapeutic intervention, spring boarding the development of novel, personalized approaches to treat disease.
Kristen Brennand obtained her BSc from the University of Calgary in 2002, followed by PhD studies at Harvard University and post-doctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She first established her independent laboratory in the Pamela Sklar Division of Psychiatric Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2012 before moving to Yale as the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics in 2021. She is co-Director of the newly launched YSM Fellows Program, a recruitment and training pathway for structured promotion to faculty for postdoctoral trainees from underrepresented backgrounds. Her husband Jamie works at a local biotech company, and when they are not in the laboratory, they love to run, bike, and snowboard with their daughter Maybelle.
Modeling gene × environment interactions in PTSD using human neurons reveals diagnosis-specific glucocorticoid-induced gene expressionNature Neuroscience (2022)