This application describes a systematic 5-years training plan to launch an independent research caree neuroscience with emphasis on functional epigenetics and brain imaging. The overall goal of the Candidate contribute to the understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying brain function, specifically, to better i the role of individual variations in genetic and epigenetic makeup. To achieve this goal, a rigorous training plan, integrating didactic and research components tailored to candidate's goals, skills and experience is put together. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) provides anic environment to accomplish this training - it is a home to state-of-the-art functional neuroimaging technologies mentors of this project are distinguished scientists, preeminent experts in their areas. The research project of proposal implements the practical mean to achieve this goal.
It aims to investigate the mechanisms by which (focus of the proposal is on monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene) affect brain function. The research will make use of the unique opportunity afforded by BNL: Positron Emission Tomograph enables direct measurement of the MAOA activity in the living human brain. PET data will be complemented t high-resolution epigenetic analysis. The overall goal of this research proposal is to investigate the contribution of epigenetic mechanism individual differences in brain chemistry with an overarching view to understand the neurobiological substrate underlying different behavioral phenotypes. We hypothesize that epigenetic mechanisms play an important role in the transcriptional regulation o MAOA gene which potentially contribute to variation in human behavior. To test this, we propose to interroga gene methylation and determine the variation in methylation across a group of normal individuals. Subsequer individual's methylation pattern will be linked to their brain imaging data measuring the amount of MAO A acti data will be(used to determine if there is a correlation between methylation of the MAOA gene and the amoun in the brain. The study will add new information by addressing a key unresolved question in brain science: What and biochemical-substrates underlie human behavior? Verified knowledge of the epigenetic regulation of this improve our general understanding of the interplay between genes and the environment, so adding a new ins brain biology. The project's main objective is to afford training needed for the candidate to initiate an independent career in neuroscience, particularly in neuroimaging and epigenetics. Pursuing this objective, the trainee will obtain valuable scientific data and significantly contribute to our understanding of.the mechanisms regulating brain neurochemistry, thus add biochemical relevance to the growing number of reports of relationships between the MAOA genotype, environmental stressors and behavior.

Public Health Relevance

In this K01 application the candidate proposes a training program in brain imaging and genetics to stu affecting the expression of the genes involved in reward, arousal and motivation with the overarching goal to scientific and technical foundation for an independent career in advancing understanding of gene-brain-behav relationships and the development of preventions and interventions for brain disorders such as addiction, obe aggression.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Gordon, Harold
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Brookhaven National Laboratory
United States
Zip Code
Wang, Gene-Jack; Tomasi, Dardo; Convit, Antonio et al. (2014) BMI modulates calorie-dependent dopamine changes in accumbens from glucose intake. PLoS One 9:e101585
Shumay, Elena; Chen, John; Fowler, Joanna S et al. (2011) Genotype and ancestry modulate brain's DAT availability in healthy humans. PLoS One 6:e22754
Shumay, Elena; Fowler, Joanna S (2010) Identification and characterization of putative methylation targets in the MAOA locus using bioinformatic approaches. Epigenetics 5:325-42
Shumay, Elena; Fowler, Joanna S; Volkow, Nora D (2010) Genomic features of the human dopamine transporter gene and its potential epigenetic States: implications for phenotypic diversity. PLoS One 5:e11067