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First Friday Talks

Talk Information

Upcoming Talks

Thursday October 8 2015
Room 120, IBG building.
(Refreshments will be available at 3:45pm)

Medical College of Wisconsin


Melinda Dwinell, Ph.D

Associate Professor of Physiology

Deputy Director of the Human & Molecular Genetics Center

PI of Gene Editing Rat Resource Center


Mary Shimoyama, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Surgery

PI of the Rat Genome Database


“Unraveling disease through rat models using innovation and informatics”




The laboratory rat is one of the most important model organisms for the study of disease mechanisms and for the development and testing of therapeutics. Over the past 15 years, the Medical College of Wisconsin has been a leader in the development of rat models of complex disease and the Rat Genome Database (RGD, which provides a comprehensive research platform for the laboratory rat. Through the development and characterization of inbred, consomic, congenic, and mutant rat models, not only have we created unique animal models to study a wide variety of diseases, but we have also generated a wealth of phenotypic and genomic data for these disease models.  In parallel to the rat model development, RGD was created to catalog, integrate, and provide innovative software tools for data mining for genetic, genomic, physiological, disease and strain data from publications, direct submissions and through bulk data pipelines. As new technologies for gene editing in the rat have become available and next-generation sequencing has been used to sequence dozens of rat strains, RGD has incorporated variation data throughout the resource, allowing users to visualize strain specific variation through multiple search and filter options.   Strain development through the Gene Editing Rat Resource Center relies on the high quality data contained within RGD and also provides new strain and phenotype data to RGD. 


Related Publications:


Flister MJ, Prokop JW, Lazar J, Shimoyama M, Dwinell M, Geurts A. 2015 Guidelines for Establishing Genetically Modified Rat Models for Cardiovascular Research. J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2015 Jun;8(4):269-77. doi: 10.1007/s12265-015-9626-4. Epub 2015 Apr 29. PubMed PMID: 25920443; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4475456.


Wang SJ, Laulederkind SJ, Hayman GT, Petri V, Liu W, Smith JR, Nigam R, Dwinell MR, Shimoyama M. PhenoMiner: a quantitative phenotype database for the laboratory rat, Rattus norvegicus. Application in hypertension and renal disease. Database (Oxford). 2015 Jan 28;2015. pii: bau128. doi: 10.1093/database/bau128. Print 2015. PubMed PMID: 25632109; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4309021.



8/7/15: Yun Li "Genotype Imputation in Admixed Populations”

7/28/15: Pariya Salami "High Frequency Oscillations (HFOs: 80-500 Hz), ictogenesis and epileptogenesis"

5/1/15: Brian Hicks “Integrating Genes, Environment, and Development to Understand Externalizing Psychopathology”

4/10/15: Micaela Christopher “What two twin studies tell us about the genetic and environmental etiologies underlying the relations between reading, other academic skills, and cognitive abilities”

4/6/15: Dajiang J. Liu "Genetic Architecture and Causal Inference for Complex Traits via Large Scale Meta-analyses"

2/20/2015: Dr. Lisa DeBruine “Lovesick: the surprising links between mating and pathogens”

2/5/15: Fereydoun Hormozdiari "Discovery of Structural Variation and Gene Networks in Neurodevelopmental Disorders"

1/12/15: Lea Davis “The genomic architecture of psychiatric traits: Or how I learned to stop worrying about the needle and love the haystack.”


12/11/14: Dr. Thomas Schulze "Psychiatric genetics: a roadmap for the next two decades"

9/5/14: Sterling Sawaya “Tandem repeats as regulators of neural development and neurotransmission”

8/15/14: Lindon Eaves "Just because you can measure genes doesn’t mean you can leave your brain behind: low-cost lessons from good old quantitative genetics”

4/4/14: Brian Cadle “Reinforcing effect of optogenetic stimulation of dorsal subiculum”

2/7/14: Paul Andrews “The Evolution of Depressive Phenotypes”


9/06/13: Eric E. Turner "Genetic and optogenetic approaches to habenula function in mood regulation and addiction"

8/12/13: Nicholas Kiefer Priest "Diet, immunity and ageing in large-scale demographic studies of the fruit fly"

6/7/13:  Jasmine Yap "The Role of Neroinflammation in Mediating the Effects of Stress on Drug Abuse"

5/17/13:  Mike Baratta "Prospects and challenges for understanding the neural basis of resilience"

5/10/13: Chris Lowry "MicroRNAs as novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of anxiety and depression"

4/5/13: William Horton "Signaling through mt1/mt2 melatonin receptors effects nicotine preference drinking and nicotinic receptor activity"

3/21/13: Matthew Simonson "Polygenic Analysis of Genome-Wide SNP Data"

3/1/13:  Ben Neale "Pattern and rates of exonic de novo mutations in autism spectrum disorder"

2/1/13: Brian Cadle "Optogenetic control of subicular output and drug seeking behavior in mice."

2/22/13: Peter Visscher "Genetic architecture of complex traits in human populations"


1/3/12:Christopher Lowry, Ph.D. "Synthesizing systems genetics resources to build an expanded genetical genomic model for predisposition to alcohol preference."

1/13/12: Audrey Hendricks, Ph.D."Evaluation of Gene Summary Methods"

5/24/12: Dr. Jeffrey B. Halter "Aging, Diabetes, and the Brain: Role of Insulin?"

9/7/12: Lauren Costantini, Ph.D. "Life in Biotech"

11/9/12: Judge Morris Hoffman "Law and Neuroscience"


1/21/11: Katie Commons, Ph.D."The Case of the Mysterious Modulator: Serotonin"

3/3/11: Mary-Anne Enoch, M.D. "GABAergic Gene Expression in the Human Hippocampus after Chronic Alcohol and Cocaine Exposure-How to Distinguish Trait from State Effects?"

3/17/11: Kelly Klump, Ph.D. "The Genetic Diathesis of Eating Disorders: Critical Roles for Puberty and Ovarian Hormones"

8/5/11: Steven W. Gangestad, Ph.D."Individual Differences in Oxidative Stress: Theoretical Perspectives, Empirical Findings, and Possible Implications for Understanding Health Trajectories"

9/16/11: Brian Browning, Ph.D. "Modeling inter-marker correlation improves genotype accuracy and eliminates false positive genetic associations."

11/4/1: Feng C. Zhou, Ph.D. "Alcohol and Epigenetic Program during Development"

12/2/11: Lara Saba, Ph.D "Synthesizing systems genetics resources to build an expanded genetical genomic model for predisposition to alcohol preference."


1/8/10: John C. DeFries, Ph.D "Adventures in Behavioral Genetics"

2/5/10:  Al Collins, Ph.D. "Booze, Butts and Genes"

3/5/10: George Martin, Ph.D. "Stochastic Modulations of Healthspan & Lifespan: Somatic Mutations & Epigenetic Gambling"

4/2/10:  David Duggan, Ph.D. "The 1000 Genomes Project"

6/11/10: Laramie Duncan "Gene-Environment Interactions in Psychiatry: True Results or Type I Errors? "

8/13/10: Mark Reimers, Ph.D. "Making Sense of Small Effects: dealing with diversity"

11/5/10: Chris Link, Ph.D. "TDP-43 and neurodegeneration: What do you do after you have identified a human disease gene?"

12/3/10: Jacqueline N. Crawley, Ph.D. "Behavioral Phenotyping of Mouse Models of Autism: Towards Testing Hypotheses About Causes and Discovering Therapeutics"


1/9/09: Helen KamensS Ph.D. "The Involvement of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Ethanol Stimulation and Consumption"

2/6/09: Linda R. Watkins"Listening" and "talking" to neurons: Clinical implication of glial dysregulation of pain & opioid actions.

4/3/09: Ulrike Heberlein "The unbelievable likeness of beings: Role of Lim-only proteins and their target genes in cocaine-related behaviors in flies and mice"

5/1/09: Karl H. Pfenninger "Science and Resources in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center"

9/28/09: Justin S. Rhodes Ph.D. "Genetic basis of motivation for physical activity"

11/13/09: Ryan K. Bachtell Ph.D. "Effects of reversing drug-induced neuroadaptations on drug-related behaviors"

12/4/09:  Philipp Kapranov, Ph.D. "The multifaceted human transcriptome"


2/8/08: Dr. Allan Collins, Ph.D., "Teaching in Tanzania"

4/11/08: Marilyn E. Coors, Ph.D., "The Interface of Bioethics and Psychiatric Genetic Research"

6/6/08 Henry A. Lester,  "Changes in the Brain During Chronic Nicotine"

9/12/08: Katerina Kechris, PhD "Integrating Bioinformatics, Genomics and Genetics"

10/3/08:  Benjamin F. Voight  "Population-based Homozygosity Mapping using Whole Genome Association Data"

11/14/08:  Isabel Schlaepfer "Association of Nicotinic CHRNA5/A3/B4 Gene Cluster Variations & Disinhibitory Behaviors"

12/5/08:  Len Hayflick, PhD "Aging, Longevity Determinants and Age Associated Disease."


Min Han  
Ph.D., Investigator and Professor, HHMI and Department of MCD Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado. 
“Genetic Redundancy and Tumor Suppressor Functions in C. Elegans”

Kwang-Youn Albert Kim  
Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
“Unraveling Complex Diseases by Identifying Gene-Gene Interactions”
(Candidate for Behavioral/Mathematical Genetics Position)

Tiejun Tong  
Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate Division of Biostatistics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. 
“Minimax Estimation of Means with Applications to Microarray Data Analysis”  (Candidate for Behavioral/Mathematical Genetics Position)

Wei Min Chen  (Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Statistical Analysis, Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan). 
“Efficient Use of Family Data in Genome-Wide Association Scans” 
(Candidate for Behavioral/Mathematical Genetics Position)

Terence P. Thornberry  & Pamela K. Porter
Dr. Thornberry, Director, Problem Behavior Program, Institute of Behavioral Science and Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder; and Pamela K. Porter (Research Coordinator, Rochester Youth Development Study, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Boulder).        
“Overview of the Rochester Intergenerational Study”

Laura Jean Bierut  
M.D., Associate Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, St. Louis, Missouri. 
“Genetic Risk Factors for Nicotine Dependence”

September 7
Allan Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Chief Scientific Officer
Formerly Sr. Director of the Allen Brain Atlas Project—mid 2004-mid 2006 Both with the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, WA
“The Mouse Transcriptome in 3D:  The Allen Brain Atlas Project”

 September 28
Dr. Stephen A. Petrill, Ph.D., Professor, The Ohio State University, Dept. of Human Development & Family Science, Columbus, Ohio
“Genes, Environments, and Growth in Early Reading Skills”

November 2
Dr. Evan S. Deneris, Ph.D., Professor, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Cleveland, Ohio
“Genetic Mechanisms Directing Development of the Brain Serotonin System”


Brion Maher  
Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, Division of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Title—ADHD, Endophenotypes and the Dopamine System”  
Co-sponsored by IBG and the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder
(Candidate for Behavioral Statistical Genetics Position)

Matthew McQueen
Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Title—“Mapping Genetic Determinants of Bipolar Disorder”
Co-sponsored by IBG and the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder  (Candidate for Behavioral Statistical Genetics Position)

Gregory A. Petsko
Gyula and Katica Tauber Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry; Director, Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts. 
Title:  “The Structural Enzymology of Parkinson’s Disease”

Jeesun Jung  
Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate, Division of Statistical Genetics, Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
Title—Combined Linkage and Linkage Disequilibrium Mapping of Quantitative Trait Loci”  Co-sponsored by IBG and the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder  (Candidate for Behavioral Statistical Genetics Position)

Jeesun Jung 
Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate, Division of Statistical Genetics, Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
“Gene Dropping vs. Empirical Variance Estimation:  A Comparative Study of Standardization Methods for Allele-Sharing Statistics”  
Co-sponsored by IBG and the Department of Applied Math, University of Colorado at Boulder  (Candidate for Behavioral Statistical Genetics Position)

2006 Super Mouse Group Meeting—Sponsored by Beth Bennett.  
The Super Mouse Group Meeting involves researchers giving 15 minute presentations on their current projects (including work mapping ethanol sensitivity genes), with discussion following.

Ana Maria Cuervo  
M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, and of Medicine, Marion Bessin Liver Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.
“Selective Autophagy: Something Else Than Keeping Cells Clean”
Gary A. Churchill 
Ph.D., Staff Scientist, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine. 
“Co-Adapted Alleles and the Evolution of Complex Traits”

Matthew B. McQueen  
Sc.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder.
“Genome-Wide Association: Ready or Not Here it Comes”

Thomas E. Johnson  (
Ph.D., Professor of Behavioral Genetics, Department of Integrative Physiology and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder. 
“Review of the European Conference on Aging”


1/13/2005: Lon Cardon, Ph.D., Professor of Bioinformatics, Principal Research Fellow, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom "The role of linkage disequilibrium in identifying complex trait genes in humans”
Cosponsored by IBG and MCD Biology

2/4/2005: Marie Banich, Ph.D., Director of the Institute of Cognitive Science and professor of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO "Neuroimaging of attentional control and its potential linkage to genetics”
Jointly sponsored by IBG and the Center for the Genetics of Antisocial Drug Dependence

3/4/2005: Matthew Stephens, Ph.D., statistical geneticist with the University of Washington in Seattle, develops statistical methods to analyze human genetic data using haplotype mapping and tagging.

4/1/2005: Kaare Christensen, M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Medical Science, Professor of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark; and Senior Research Scientist (part time employment) at the Terry Sanford Institute, Duke University, North Carolina, USA "Danish twin studies of aging: Why do we age so differently?"

5/6/2005: Tatiana Foroud, Associate Professor, Departments of Medical & Molecular Genetics and of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine “Genetics of alcoholism and the COGA study”

9/3/2005: Thomas E. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Behavioral Genetics, Department of Integrative Physiology, and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder.  ( “Genes Environment and Chance Interact to Determine Individual Life Span”

10/14/2005: Dr. Robert W. Williams, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Dunavant Chair: Developmental Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee. “A Systems Genetics Approach to Genes, Brains, and Behavior”

11/4/2005: Dr. David Goldman, Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Neuro- genetics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism , National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland. “Addictions: Linkage of functional alleles and haplotypes to intermediate neurobiologies and complex behaviors”

12/3/2005: Dr. Nicholas J. Schork, Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Biostatistics, Associate Director, University of California, San Diego, Center for Human Genetics and Genomics. “Molecular, Clinical, and Population Profiling via Similarity Matrix Analysis”


01/23/2004: Tatiana Foroud, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics and of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine “Genetics of alcoholism and the COGA study”

02/13/2004: Richard Miller, Ph.D, M.D., Professor of Pathology & Associate Director of Geriatrics Center at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: “Genetic analysis of aging and disease in mice”

02/27/2004: Michael Miles, Ph.D, M.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Virginia Commonwealth University: “Genetics, drugs and chips: molecular triangulation on CNS plasticity”

04/02/2004: Joe Tsien, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University: “Inducible protein knockout and ensemble recording for the analysis of memory process in mice”

05/07/2004: Marina Picciotto, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology & Neurobiology at Yale University School of Medicine: “Nicotine effects on signal transduction: possible mechanisms underlying addiction”

09/03/2004: Larry Gold, Chief Science Officer & Chairman of the Board, SomaLogic, Inc., Boulder, Colorado. “Do Serum Protein Concentrations Reflect Behavior?”

10/08/2004: James Sikela, Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Human Genetics Medical Program, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado. “Genome-Wide Identification of Great Ape and Human Lineage-Specific Genes”

11/19/2004: November 19, Al Collins, Professor of Psychology and Pharmacology, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado. “Unfinished Business

12/16/2004: Leslie Morrow, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Associate Director, Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “The role of GABAergic Neuroactive Steroids in Ethanol Action, Tolerance and Drinking Behavior”