Principal Investigator

ELIZABETH A HELLER, PHD

The Heller Lab studies the epigenetic mechanisms that underlie aberrant neuronal function and behavior in neuropsychiatric disease. To approach this problem, we apply preclinical mouse paradigms of drug addiction and depression to determine functionally relevant histone modifications. Because the syndromes of addiction and depression persist long after cessation of the harmful experience, stable epigenetic remodeling is an attractive mechanism for such long-lasting effects and presents an intriguing target for therapeutic intervention. We use high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatic approaches, including machine learning, to identify genes at which drug- or stress-regulation of the epigenome correlates with changes in gene expression. Using novel epigenetic editing tools, we then target individual modifications and examine their causal relevance to transcription and behavior. This ‘bottom-up’ approach allows direct elucidation of the causal relevance of epigenetic remodeling in the brain.

Latest News

Apr 06
Congratulations to Michael Murphy on passing his Prelim Exam and Thesis Proposal Defense!

Congratulations to Michael Murphy on passing his Preliminary Exam and Thesis Proposal Defense!

Apr 05
Liz Profiled in Penn Medicine News Blog by Alex Garnder

Dr. Heller was featured in the Penn Medicine News Blog by Alex Garnder, “Elizabeth Heller’s Lab Uncovers How Drug Addiction Can Create Lasting Changes in Genes.”

View More Here

Mar 07
Liz Heller is a new Associate Editor for the Epigenetics editorial board.

Elizabeth Heller is now an Associate Editor for the Epigenetics editorial board.

View Journal Website Here

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