The MBM Program begins its Frontiers in Miniature Brain Machinery lecture series for the Spring 2020 semester with Lisa Stubbs. Stubbs is a Professor of Molecular & Cellular Biology and Cell & Developmental Biology at the University of Illinois.
Stubbs will speak February 12 at 4pm in 2269 Beckman Institute on “Using gene networks to develop mechanistic inferences about complex behaviors.”
The past few years have seen an explosive growth in methods to measure the transcriptomic and epigenetic responses to complex stimuli, including advances that are especially relevant to brain and behavior. However, the signals derived from brains or brain regions of humans or animals involved in complex behaviors involve many interacting cell types, and using these noisy genomic signals for mechanistic insights is still a very difficult process. Rather than focusing on individual genes, it is often useful to examine interacting groups, which are expressed together and generally work together in the same cell types and the same biological pathways. With appropriately rich datasets, gene network reconstruction tools allow these interacting groups to be identified in a robust and reliable fashion, and our group has extensively utilized these tools to develop mechanistic insights, especially into regulatory mechanisms. I will discuss the use of these tools using these published examples and an unpublished story from my group’s recent research. Network analysis of these data provide new insights to social response and suggest possible causes of pathologies in human patients.
Stubbs’ research combines mouse genetics, bioinformatics and genomic methods to explore cis- and trans-acting components of mammalian gene regulatory machinery. She received her PhD in Biology from the University of California, San Diego and did her postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.
Thanks to everyone who braved the winter weather to come to this talk!