Research & Publications
Dr. Fernandez's research aims to uncover the genetic and epigenetic basis of multiple childhood neuropsychiatric disorders, including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ADHD, anxiety disorders, Tourette Syndrome, chronic tic disorders, motor stereotypies, and autism spectrum disorders. The overall goal is to advance our understanding of the biology of these disorders and to improve diagnosis and treatment.
Extensive Research Description
Dr. Fernandez's current focus is to discover which combinations of genes are underlying risk for these disorders in individuals and extended families. There are multiple pathways to this type of discovery, including identification of discrete genetic sequence changes in those with disease (using whole-exome and whole-genome DNA sequencing), detecting deletions and duplications that encompass larger regions of human chromosomes (using DNA sequencing and microarray technologies), and finding markers on DNA that regulate gene expression but do not alter the genetic sequence or structure (i.e. epigenetic markers that are dynamic throughout development). The end goal of this research is to identify networks of genes that increase risk for illness and teach us larger lessons about underlying disease biology that can be leveraged for improving diagnosis and treatment.
Anxiety Disorders; Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity; Child Psychiatry; Compulsive Behavior; Genetics; Genetics, Behavioral; Tourette Syndrome; Obsessive Behavior; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Psychiatry; Stereotyped Behavior; Tic Disorders; Trichotillomania; Stereotypic Movement Disorder; Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders; Autism Spectrum Disorder
Public Health Interests
Behavioral Health; Bioinformatics; Clinical Trials; Genetics, Genomics, Epigenetics; Mental Health; Child/Adolescent Health