Shelley J. Russek, PhD
|Institution||Boston University School of Medicine|
|Department||Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics|
|Address||72 E. Concord St Building A|
Boston MA 02118
|Department||Graduate Program for Neuroscience|
|Title||Mentor for Graduate Medical Students|
|Institution||Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences|
|2004||American Epilepsy Society:
Innovative Research Award|
|2001||BU School of Medicine:
Dean’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award|
Research Interests of the Russek Laboratory: Gene Regulation in the Nervous System
Our chief interests surround a desire to understand the dynamic regulation of gene expression in the nervous system and how it relates to the etiology of neurological and neuropsychiatric disease. The identification of gene families with multiple genes that code for related yet distinct receptor isoforms has added a remarkable increase to the level of specificity and complexity that governs the transcriptional regulation of neurotransmitter receptors in the CNS. For instance, the diverse set of nineteen genes coding for the major inhibitory receptor in the brain, the GABA-A receptor, constitutes a gene family that displays an unusual degree of differential developmental and cell-specific gene regulation. Individual control over specific subunit gene expression leads to functional and pharmacological diversity that enables individual neurons to respond dynamically to alterations in membrane excitability via the alteration of the number or kind of synaptic and/or extrasynaptic inhibitory receptors. We employ a variety of techniques, including chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), primary neuronal cultures, living promoter/reporter assays as visualized by confocal microscopy, and the use of inducible viral vectors in animal models of disease, such as epilepsy, autism and depression to test hypotheses of disease etiology and potential strategies for novel molecular therapeutics that restore the balance of inhibition and excitation in the brain.
We are currently expanding our methodologies to include the use of behavioral assays that monitor the effects of viral transgene or shRNA rescue on neuropathology that is relevant to the behaving and diseased organism. Finally, we are using novel computational strategies in collaboration with leaders in the field of bioinformatics and systems biology to identify gene regulatory pathways and unknown DNA regulatory elements that may be operative in the brain either for its normal function or important as contributors to the disease phenotype and we are developing novel viral vector technology for use by the neuroscience research community to give greater pharmacological control over the inducibility and temporal delivery of relevant RNAs in vivo.
- Brain Inhibition
- Gene Regulation
- Systems Biology
Click the "See All" links for more information and interactive visualizations!
Similar BU People
BU People who are also in this person's primary department.