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Posted Thursday September 6, 2018


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Mental Illness

How data is helping us unravel the mysteries of the brain


Geneticist Steve McCarroll wants to make an atlas of all the cells in the human body so that we can understand in precise detail how specific genes work, especially in the brain. In this fascinating talk, he shares his team's progress -- including their invention of "Drop-seq," a technology that allows scientists to analyze individual cells at a scale that was never before possible -- and describes how this research could lead to new ways of treating mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

Steve McCarroll is conducting groundbreaking research on the causes of mental illness.

Steve McCarroll and the scientists in his lab use human genetics, molecular biology and engineering to create new ways of studying the human brain, reveal the ways in which genomes vary from person to person and discover the molecular and cellular processes that underlie brain illness. McCarroll and his team at Harvard have linked schizophrenia to specific gene variations that recruit immune molecules into "pruning" synapses in the brain, a discovery that is leading toward new ways of thinking about the biological basis of schizophrenia and new approaches for discovering medicines.

Prior to leading his lab, McCarroll earned his PhD in neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco. He is also currently serving as Director of Genetics for the Broad Institute's Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.


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