The Girgenti Neurogenomics Lab @Yale Psychiatry

Our goal

In the Girgenti Neurogenomics lab, our goal is to elucidate the molecular neurobiology of PTSD and other psychiatric disorders using postmortem human brain and patient-derived cell lines to identify novel targets for drug discovery and development.

Importance

PTSD is a severe, debilitating, and prevalent disorder occurring in the aftermath of significant trauma exposure. The neurobiology of PTSD with regard to trauma-associated genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptional mechanisms is poorly understood and many critical questions remain. Recently, our group published the first large genomic study of the PTSD frontal cortex, one of the key components of the fear neural circuit, arguably among the best-understood circuits in neuroscience.

Opportunities

With the establishment of the VA National PTSD Brain Bank, there is a unique opportunity to advance our knowledge of the molecular biology of PTSD. The combination of genetic, transcriptomic, and epigenetic datasets generated from postmortem human brain regions and corresponding PTSD patient-derived cell lines offer an unprecedented opportunity to discover novel targets and therapies for PTSD. This approach will also address the molecular basis for co-morbidities such as major depression and suicide in the brain. At a translational level, this will be immensely beneficial in preventing PTSD patients from suicidal ideation and attempts. Furthermore, research with trauma-resilient subject brains will point us toward biomarkers and mechanisms of resilience to physical and psychological trauma within the brain.