Vaccarino Lab

Overview

We are interested in the basic programs that govern the development of the mammalian forebrain and in how these basic programs vary during evolution, among individuals, and in neuropsychiatric disorders. We use human brains, human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which we differentiate into cerebral organoids, and rodent models. We have generated a biobank encompassing several hundreds of iPSC lines from families with autism, Tourette syndrome, and other developmental disorders. Our analytical tools include immunocytochemistry, imaging and molecular techniques to study how neural stem cells differentiate and connect to each other, and high throughput sequencing for the analysis of cellular genomes, transcriptomes and genomic regulatory regions. Our primary goal is the integration of cellular, molecular and genomic data to achieve a better understanding of how stem and progenitor cells differentiate and mature into different types of neurons that populate different regions of the human brain.

Initiatives in which we participate:

Program in Neurodevelopment & Regeneration

This collaborative interdepartmental program is leading interdisciplinary studies on iPSCs, somatic mosaicism, neural stem cells and human development. It includes investigators from the Yale Child Study Center, the Departments of Neuroscience, Pathology, Genetics, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, and laboratories at Stanford and the Mayo Clinic.

PsychENCODE

This collaborative multi-site project is generating a catalog of coding and non-coding RNAs and regulatory DNA elements in the developing and adult human brain and psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder.

Brain Somatic Mosaicism Network

This multi-site project is working to identify the extent and type of somatic mutations in brain cell lineages and psychiatric disorders such as autism, Tourette syndrome, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. 

Participant Eligibility/Benefits

Children with ASD and family members, individuals with Tourette Syndrome, normal individuals 

Participants are asked to contribute a small sample of skin and/or a urine sample (see: https://medicine.yale.edu/neurodevelopment/participation/)

Research Interest

We use human tissue, human stem cells and animal models to study how the brain develops in neuropsychiatric disor-ders.

IRB Study Title(s)

Integrated Approach to the Neurobiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Tourette Syndrome and Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 13

Contact Information

Flora Vaccarino
Email: flora.vaccarino@yale.edu
URL: https://medicine.yale.edu/lab/vaccarino/