Daniel B. Campbell, Ph.D
- Faculty, Training Faculty
Ph.D., 1998, Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine, Hershey, PA
The goal of my research program is to determine the mechanisms by which autism-related long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and autism-associated environmental factors contribute to altered brain development. We first discovered that highly significant genetic signals for autism implicated lncRNAs. When we manipulated expression of these lncRNAs in human neurons, the changes in gene expression were in genes involved in protein translation and chromatin structure. We then discovered that exposure of human neurons to autism-associated air pollutants also impacted expression of genes involved in the same biological process, suggesting a convergence of genetic and environmental contributions to autism risk. Future experiments will enhance our understanding of neuronal development, the key noncoding RNA gene networks, environmental impact on epigenetics, and molecular contributions to autism risk.