Entry Date:
April 27, 2010

Disrupting the Balance

Principal Investigator Yingxi Lin

Professor Lin has shown that mice that are genetically engineered to lack Npas4 are prone to seizures, presumably because the balance between excitation and inhibition within the brain has been disrupted. These mice may be a useful model for human epilepsy, a possibility that Lin plans to explore in her future work. Impaired inhibition has also been implicated in many other brain disorders in humans, including anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and autism. Indeed one of the genes regulated by Npas4 has recently been shown to be a genetic risk factor for autism. As she learns more about the brain's inhibitory circuits, Lin hopes to shed new light on the origins and possible treatments of these diseases.