Work in Dr. Schaefer’s laboratory addresses the epigenetic basis of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. We study how miRNAs and histone modifying enzymes contribute to the establishment and maintenance of neuronal identity and specialized functions. We are particularly interested in understanding the epigenetic mechanisms of cellular plasticity and its role in regulation of microglia-neuron communication. Using pioneering technologies including cell type specific analysis of mRNAs, miRNAs and chromatin modifications in neurons and microglia in vivo, our research aims at understanding the mechanism of neurological disorders and at their potential treatment by targeting the neuronal epigenome.
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