Brzustowicz Lab

My research group applies the techniques of molecular and statistical genetics to approach clinically relevant problems in neuroscience, with the ultimate goal of understanding gene function in both the pathologic and normal states. We are currently studying schizophrenia, autism, and specific language impairment (SLI). Work directly conducted by my group includes development of phenotype definitions, subject recruitment and assessment (for autism and SLI), genotyping and statistical analysis for linkage and association studies, comparative genomic analysis, and gene expression studies. We have successfully identified functional variants in two susceptibility genes, NOS1AP which is involved in schizophrenia and EN2 which is involved in autism. Other areas of particular interest include the role of microRNAs in the control of gene expression in the human brain and enhancements to moderately high throughput genotyping technologies. Within Rutgers and UMDNJ we work closely with Dr. Bonnie Firestein (Rutgers Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience) and Drs. Jim Millonig and Manny DiCicco-Bloom (UMDNJ-RWJ Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology) on understanding the molecular neurobiology of schizophrenia and autism susceptibility genes. Our primary collaborators outside of Rutgers/UMDNJ are Dr. Anne Bassett at the University of Toronto, who works on phenotype definition, subject recruitment and assessment for schizophrenia, Dr. Veronica Vieland at Ohio State University, who works on the development of advanced statistical genetics methods, and Dr. Christopher Bartlett, who works on the molecular genetics of specific language impairment.