The goal of this mentored Career Development Award proposal is to provide Consuelo Walss-Bass, Ph.D. the training to become an independent investigator in the biology of psychiatric disorders. This training builds upon the candidates experience in identification of gene variants associated with psychiatric disorders and extends this work to correlation of these variations with functionality. The training plan provides individual mentorship and structured didactics. Dr. Robin Leach, a molecular biologist and genetics expert, will provide training and expertise in molecular biology methodologies and assistance in application of all research aims. Dr. Michael Escamilla, an expert in mapping of genes involved in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, particularly in Latino populations, will provide mentorship in relating molecular biology findings to clinical phenotypes. This project proposes to provide the applicant with training in molecular biology methodology, as well as functional genomics and proteomics techniques to correlate identified genetic variations with changes in cellular functions. The proposed research will focus on gene variants, identified within the neuregulin 1 gene, to learn techniques that will be applicable to the study of other variations identified to be associated with any complex disorder. Correlation of allelic variations with functionality is the final objective towards understanding the biological roles that susceptibility genes play in development of psychiatric disorders. The proposed research will provide a significant contribution to the characterization of the neuregulin 1 gene and may shed light as to the biological underpinnings of neuregulin 1 in schizophrenia pathology.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-GGG-D (62))
Program Officer
Rosemond, Erica K
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Schools of Medicine
San Antonio
United States
Zip Code
Bortolato, Marco; Walss-Bass, Consuelo; Thompson, Peter M et al. (2017) Manic symptom severity correlates with COMT activity in the striatum: A post-mortem study. World J Biol Psychiatry 18:247-254
Moskovitz, Jackob; Walss-Bass, Consuelo; Cruz, Dianne A et al. (2015) The enzymatic activities of brain catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and methionine sulphoxide reductase are correlated in a COMT Val/Met allele-dependent fashion. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 41:941-51
Marballi, Ketan K; McCullumsmith, Robert E; Yates, Stefani et al. (2014) Global signaling effects of a schizophrenia-associated missense mutation in neuregulin 1: an exploratory study using whole genome and novel kinome approaches. J Neural Transm (Vienna) 121:479-90
Marballi, Ketan; Cruz, Dianne; Thompson, Peter et al. (2012) Differential neuregulin 1 cleavage in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: preliminary findings. PLoS One 7:e36431
Marballi, Ketan; Quinones, Marlon P; Jimenez, Fabio et al. (2010) In vivo and in vitro genetic evidence of involvement of neuregulin 1 in immune system dysregulation. J Mol Med (Berl) 88:1133-41