Faculty Mentor/s:  Julie Miwa, Biological Sciences


Students on the team this summer: 

Brandon Hocking – 2022 – UG - Behavioral Neuroscience

Miguel Martinez – 2021 – UG - Behavioral Neuroscience / Music Composition

Marley Sorbello – 2021 – UG - Molecular Biology

Ella Imhof – 2023 – UG - Bioengineering


Project Description: This project is working toward identifying genetic linkages of anxiety and cognitive disorders in the population, and consists of a series of bioinformatics subprojects aimed at exploring gene mutations which could underlie neuropsychiatric disorders. Students on this team will enagaged in analyses of DNA databases, data analysis of complex traits and genes, DNA sequencing, and exploring psychological tests of cognitive traits. In the near term, the project can help to identify a subpopulation of people with a predisposition to anxiety disorders; the ultimate goal is to help develop a personalized medicine approach for intractable anxiety. Providing a biological basis for anxiety disorders helps to destigmatize the disorder and direct individuals to the appropriate treatments. The identification of a world-wide genetic risk connected to anxiety disorders could lead to a new treatment beyond the current treatments, which are short-term and do not address the root cause. If successful, this strategy could restore the synaptic imbalances (e.g. plasticity) underlying the over-activation of anxiety-based brain structures over a long term.


Month/Year Project Began:JUNE 2020