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Chromatin remodelling mechanisms in neurodevelopmental disorders

Albert Basson

Albert Basson

Professor of Developmental Neurobiology

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Overview

Research in the Basson lab is primarily focused on chromatin remodelling factors implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders. They create and use mouse models to study the functions of these factors during brain development and reveal the mechanisms responsible for disorders like autism.

So far, critical roles for CHD7, the factor mutated in CHARGE syndrome, have been identified in controlling development of the cerebellum. They are investigating the function of CHD8, a high confidence autism-associated factor, and other chromatin remodeling factors directly regulated by, or otherwise functionally associated with CHD8, in brain development. These studies aim to provide fundamental insights into the epigenetic mechanisms that underlie ataxia, developmental delay, autism, intellectual disability and executive dysfunction.

Related to this core interest, novel unbiased chromatin conformation capture techniques are employed to identify cell type-specific distal regulatory elements that control and fine-tune the expression of key neurodevelopmental genes in the cerebellum, in order to identify non-coding substrates for neurodevelopmental disorders. Finally, the group are interested in understanding how non-genetic, environmental factors may affect autism risk.