fluoresence microscopy

About Us

Prinicipal Investigator
Dr. Marquis Vawter
Faculty Profile

Dr. Marquis Vawter Dr. Vawter is a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior performing preclinical and clinical research. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in psychiatry and specializes in molecular psychiatry techniques involving genetics and functional genomics. Dr. Vawter was trained in both clinical and physiological psychology tracks and obtained additional neuroscience and neuropsychological assessment training at NIH. Dr. Vawter has directed the the Functional Genomics Laboratory since 2001 and has been involved in different projects through collaborations with Dr. William E. Bunney and the UCI Brain Bank. These projects are involved with postmortem brain gene expression in affective and psychotic disorders. Phenotypes such as suicide are being investigated in the laboratory and mitochondria projects involving gene expression and resequencing of the mitochondria genome in psychiatric disorders and performing quantitative trait analysis using mitochondria haplogroups are currently underway.

Assistant Research Professor
Dr. P. Adolfo Sequeira

Adolfo Sequeira Adolfo's main interest is to explore the genetic and molecular basis of neuropsychiatric disorders in order to find markers for prevention or for the development of therapeutic interventions. With a background in molecular biology and genetics, he completed a master in neurosciences from the University of Montreal and a PhD in human genetics at McGill University. He arrived as the Della Martin Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, University of California, Irvine and is currently an Assistant Research Professor in the same department. In his projects he uses a candidate gene approach and a case-control design, to carry out genetic variation studies. He is also involved in gene expression studies of cortical and sub cortical (hippocampus, limbic system) regions from psychiatric subjects (suicides or not) and normal controls. The main purpose of his studies is to explore the relationship between changes in gene expression and genetics in relation to neuropsychiatric disorders.

Lab Manager
Brandi Rollins

Brandi Rollins Brandi Rollins graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in genetics and is currently the lab manager for the Functional Genomics Laboratory. Her current projects include performing microarray analysis using Affymetrix U133P, Human Exon 1.0 ST, and Human Mitochondrial Resequencing Arrays. She is involved in researching the genetics of neuropsychiatric illness in Costa Rica as well as performing RT PCR analysis on candidate genes for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression

Asisstant Project Scientist
Dr. Firoza Mamdani

Firoza MamdaniDr. Mamdani received her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from McGill University where her graduate work focused on the pharmacogenomics of treatment response in mood disorders, specifically the identification of genetic and peripheral gene expression biomarkers for response. She has been in Dr. Vawter's laboratory since 2011, initially as a postdoctoral fellow, where she has worked on projects involved in mitochondrial DNA sequencing and mtDNA variant investigation in postmortem brain tissue, gene expression and biomarkers in mood disorders and suicide, and performing laser capture microdissection of postmortem brain samples. She is also collaborating with Drs. Fabio Macciardi, Federica Torri and Ilaria Guella carrying out a RNA-seq study in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Staff Research Associate
Ling Morgan

Ling Morgan With an MS degree in Biochemistry and a BS degree in Biomedical Engineering, Ling Morgan has worked in the Functional Genomics Laboratory since 2006. Her work includes the validation of differential expression of candidate genes by QPCR, performing real time PCR assays, designing specific primers and determining the significance of target gene expression. She is also involved in a sleep deprivation project, where she processes RNA extraction from multiple blood draws at different sleep deprivation time points, generates cDNA and analyzes gene expression data to compare subjects with psychiatric disorder and healthy control subjects.

Former Lab Members

Former laboratory members that have moved to other positions are:

  • Ilaria Guella, Ph.D
  • Maureen Martin, Ph.D
  • Emily Moon
  • Hiroaki Tomita, M.D., Ph.D (Della Martin fellow)
  • Ling Shao, Ph.D
  • Mary Atz
  • Erick Ferran
  • Kevin Overman