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Christopher T. Gregg, Ph.D.

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments: Neurobiology - Associate Professor, Human Genetics - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Academic Office Information

chris.gregg@neuro.utah.edu

Labs

Research Interests

  • Neurosciences
  • Motivated Behaviors
  • Neuronal Circuitry
  • Human and Mouse Genetics
  • Epigenetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genome Engineering
  • Genomic and Personalized Medicine
  • Computational Biology
  • Brain Diseases
  • Evolution

RESEARCH OVERVIEW

A major goal of our research is to uncover novel genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in the brain that regulate motivated behaviors. Alterations to motivated behaviors occur in a wide range of disorders, including anxiety disorders, major depression, addiction, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorders and eating disorders. Motivated beahviors involve opposing behavioral drives, such as hunger and satiety, reward and aversion, sleep and wake, or social and anti-scoial behaviors. The Gregg Lab is developing novel approaches to study complex motivated behaviors and to uncover functionally antagonistic pathways that regulate opposing motivational states. Our goal is to develop approaches to engineer specific patterns of behavior and to develop novel strategies to diagnose and treat complex psychiatric disorders. We are developing novel computation, genomics genome engineering and behavioral approaches to achieve these goals.

AREAS OF INTEREST

Allele-Specific Expression Effects in Neuronal Circuits Regulating Motivated Behaviors. We are developing novel genomics and imaging based approaches to study allele-specific expression effects in different neuronal circuits that regulate anxiety, feeding exploration and other complex motivated behaviors. In particular, we have been focused on a form of allele-specific expression called genomic imprinting, in which the maternally or paternally inherited allele is preferentially expressed for some genes in the genome. We have discovered numerous imprinting effects that influence gene expression in specific tissues and regions of the brain. Our goal is to understand the function and regulation of the seffects and how they influence brain function and susceptibility to brain disorders.

Deconstruction of Complex Motivated Behaviors. Our lab has extensive expertise in the analysis of large-scale datasets. We are building on our expertise to develop novel approaches to study complex patterns of behavior. Using machine learning and video tracking, we are designing "high-content behavioral assays" that allow us to deconstruct motivated behaviors, such as foraging behavior, into over 200 distinct behavioral measures. We are developing these methods to study mechanisms that regulate the development of complex motivated behaviors in offspring and to perform unbiased screens for behavioral phenotypes in transgenic mice and mouse models of brain disorders.

Defining Functionally Antagonistic Mechanisms that Regulate Behavioral Drives. Using computational and genomics approaches, we are developing enw methods to "decode" gene networks in the brain to find functionally antagonistic pathways that regulate behavioral drives. Following the discovery of candidate opposing mechanisms, we use genome engineering based approaches, such as CRISPR technology and viral gene delivery, in combination with mouse genetics and novel behavioral screens to test for functionally antagonistic effects on specific aspects of behaviour. We expect that defining these mechanisms in the brain will transform our ability to diagnose and treat a wide range of psychiatric disorders and human health issues.

Education History

Other Training Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Integrative Statistical Analysis of Genomic Data
Certificate
Other Training Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Programming for Biology
Certificate
Postdoctoral Fellowship Harvard University
Catherine Dulac Laboratory
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
Neuroscience, Samuel Weiss Laboratory
PhD
Undergraduate University of Lethbridge
Biochemistry
BSc

Global Impact