Center for Biomarker Research & Precision Medicine School of Pharmacy

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A cost-effective approach to study the entire brain methylome

February 25th, 2017

Cells in the human brain appear to survive and function for decades. Molecular changes to existing cells are therefore essential for development and to effectively respond to the environment. DNA methylation represents an important set of such molecular changes and aberrant methylation patterns have already been associated with a variety of psychiatric disorders.

However, the brain methylome is very large (~1 billion sites) and complex. Although methods exist to measure the brain methylome, they are too expensive to be used in studies aimed at finding the methylation changes in brain that are associated with psychiatric disorders. 

We have therefore developed an approach that allows comprehensive and cost-effective investigations of the entire brain methylome. Specifically, we showed that this approach has approximately the same performance as the expensive approaches but achieves this at <5% of the costs. Being the only viable option currently available for comprehensive brain methylome studies, this approach may be critical for moving the field forward.

VCU researchers receive $2.1 million grant to investigate genetic markers for schizophrenia

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Deep Sequencing of Three Loci Implicated in Large-Scale Genome-Wide Association Study Smoking Meta-Analyses published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research

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The Center received a $3 million NIH grant to study molecular marks left by adverse events in childhood

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NIMH grant was awarded to integrate methylomic profiles with genotype and gene expression information from schizophrenia cases and controls

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Methylome-Wide Association Study of Schizophrenia published in JAMA Psychiatry

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