Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Lab Phone: 617-724-1487
The NeuroEpigenetics laboratory at MIND, under the direction of Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili studies the molecular mechanisms that underlie alterations in gene expression in disorders of the nervous system using the most current molecular biology tools. Currently, their efforts are focused on Huntington’s disease (HD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), as well as addiction. So far, they have identified a number of epigenetic alterations, or those that don’t involve changes in the DNA sequence, that lead to changes in gene expression in animal and cellular models of HD and are targeting histone modifying enzymes such as histone deacetylases as a novel approach for the treatment of HD. In addition, the laboratory is currently assessing the neuroprotective effects of a novel class of compounds known as MicroNeurotrophins for the treatment of ALS and HD. The lab is also interested in investigating the molecular mechanisms that underlie drug abuse as part of several collaborations with colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania and Florida State University. Their research is aimed at identifying the epigenetic marks and the molecular mechanisms that underlie relapse. The most recent project is focused on how exposure to drugs alters the epigenome and whether these changes are heritable by the offspring across multiple generations in models of addiction.
Ghazaleh is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School and Assistant in Neuroscience at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She received her Ph.D. from Boston University School of Medicine in Pharmacology and Biomedical Neuroscience and completed her postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
- Vassoler, F.M., White, S.L., Schmidt, H.D., Sadri-Vakili, G.*, Pierce, R.C.* Inheritance of a cocaine resistance phenotype. Nature Neuroscience 2013, 16(1):42-47. * Equal contribution.
- Licata, S.C., Shinday, N.M., Huizenga, M.N., Darnell, S.B., Sangrey, G.R., Rudolph, U. Rowlett, J.K., Sadri-Vakili, G. (2013) Alterations in brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the mouse hippocampus following acute but not repeated benzodiazepine treatment. PLoS One 8(12):e84806.
- McFarland, K.N., Darnell, S.B., Sangrey, G.R., Berezovska, O., Cha, J.-H.J., Outeiro, T.F., Sadri-Vakili, G. (2014) MeCP2: a novel huntingtin interactor. Human Molecular Genetics 23(4):1036-44.
- Vassoler F.M. and Sadri-Vakili, G. (2014) Mechanisms of transgenerational inheritance of addictive-like behaviors. Neuroscience 264:198-206.
- Rasakham, K., Schmidt, H.D., Kay, K., Huizenga, M.N., Calcagno, N., Pierce, R.C., Spires-Jones, T.*, Sadri-Vakili,G.* (2014) Synapse density and dendritic complexity are reduced in the prefrontal cortex following seven days of forced abstinence from cocaine self-administration. PLoS One 9(7):e102524. * Equal contribution.
- Sadri-Vakili, G. (2014) Cocaine triggers epigenetic alterations in the corticostriatal circuit. Brain Research, pii: S0006-8993(14)01342-0.