Investigating the role of microRNAs in autism susceptibility
|17 February 2016
|16:00 - 17:00
|What is it:
|Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences
|Who is it for:
|University staff, Adults, Alumni, General public
Audience: This talk is for all
Please contact Emma Gowen (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve a place.
Thomas Bleazard "Investigating the role of microRNAs in autism susceptibility"
Location: 16.00-17.00, Wednesday 17th Feburary, 2016. Ellen Wilkinson Building, room C5.1
Autism is a developmental condition involving impaired social communication and interaction, and repetitive or restricted behaviour and interests. Although autism is known to be highly heritable, the specific genetic risk factors are still poorly understood. Some of this heritability may be hidden in rare genetic variants and in parts of the genome which regulate protein production. In our project, we are investigating the role of microRNA regulatory molecules in autism susceptibility. microRNAs are genes that work by controlling other genes inside cells rather than by building or doing things themselves.
We used small RNA sequencing to read microRNAs and to count their abundance in samples from 54 autistic people and 10 people without autism. We used computational techniques to compare the autistic and the non-autistic groups. We found that there were 26 microRNAs that had different levels in autism (18 of them increased and 8 of them decreased). Some of these microRNAs have previously been shown to have regulatory roles in the brain. We used our data to investigate other events, such as switching between using different versions of microRNAs and cells editing microRNAs after they had been made. We are now expanding our search to look for variants in microRNAs in more samples. Understanding the role of microRNAs will help to build predictive models and explain how molecular changes influence the risk of autism.
Tom is a PhD student at The University of Manchester, working with Dr Janine Lamb in the Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research (CIGMR).
Role: PhD student
Travel and Contact Information
C5.1 Ellen Wilkinson