Welcome to the Laboratory of Mechanistic Neuroepigenetics and Disease (a.k.a. the Maze Lab)
The Maze laboratory is focused on understanding the complex interplay between chromatin regulatory mechanisms in brain and neuronal plasticity. We combine a wide variety of biochemical, biophysical, molecular and behavioral approaches to assess the role of histone proteins, and their associated posttranslational modifications, turnover dynamics and remodeling activities, in the regulation of normal neurodevelopment, and the contribution of such processes, or aberrations thereof, to neurological and psychiatric disease. We place particular emphasis on psychiatric disorders associated with monoaminergic (e.g., serotonin, dopamine, etc.) dysfunction, such as major depressive disorder and drug addiction, as well as neurodevelopmental syndromes resulting in deficits in synaptic plasticity and intellectual disability (e.g., Down syndrome and autism). Being both ‘basic’ and translational in nature, our work – so-called “mechanistic neuroepigenetics” – employs state-of-the-art gene and chromatin arraying technologies, analytical chemistry (e.g., mass spectrometry and 14C bomb pulse labeling) and neurobiological phenotyping, in both rodents and humans (postmortem brain and iPSC derived neurons), to explore novel chromatin phenomena in the central nervous system. This includes the identification and characterization of neuronally enriched histone modifications, chromatin “readers,” “writers” and “erasers,” all of which play critical roles in neuronal plasticity and behavioral adaptation.