Work Phone: 412-268-5518
Over the last several decades, the genetic revolution has showed us that much of human biology, even complex behavior, is encoded in our genome. Most of the variation in genome sequence that influences neurological disease predisposition and behavioral ability occurs in the vast regulatory regions between genes. The goal of the Pfenning laboratory is to build a set of computational and experimental genomic tools to study how sequence differences in those regions influence neurons, neural circuits, disease predisposition, and behavior. By understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying neural function, we seek to uncover the cell type-specific basis of Alzheimer’s disease and addiction, as well as gain insights into how speech production ability evolved in the human lineage.