Welcome to the Charvet laboratory for developmental neuroscience!

Welcome to the Charvet laboratory for developmental neuroscience! Our research is focused on integrating high-through-put methods in neuroimaging and sequencing to translate time across species and to develop new tools to better study connections in health, in disease, and across species. We are especially focused on integrating diffusion MR tracrography with transcription. Cutting across scales of organization will enhance our ability to study pathways of the human brain and bridge the gap between model systems and humans.

Our innovation is to cut across connectomic and transcriptomic scales to enhance the study of connections in the human brain. We have recently published studies showcasing the power of this approach in studying the evolution and development of connections across species. We are excited to see that our approach is increasingly recognized as a powerful way to study the evolution and development of the human brain.

 

We published the first study that integrates diffusion MR tractography with transcription to study the evolution and development of connections in the human brain. This paper, which was published in Cerebral Cortex in 2020, is also the first study from the lab! It’s available here.

 

While the lab was getting set up, I collected structural and transcriptional information to find corresponding ages across the lifespan in humans and chimpanzee. The study of chimpanzee brain development and aging is clouded by difficulty in sample acquisition and quality.  Integrating across scales overcomes many of the existing limitations linked to human and non-human primate brain evolution research and provides a rigorous approach with which to compare brain development and aging in humans and chimpanzees. The preprint is available here. The study addresses the following question but for a chimpanzee of any age!

The importance of integrating across connectomic and transcriptomic scales is summarized here.

 

Some past work:

Here are some additional recent studies. Although they do not directly integrate across scales, they are pretty cool. They are from my training in neuroimaging at Harvard Medical School and genetics at Cornell University. It was all part of a long-term plan to cut across scales to enhance the study the evolution and development of the human brain.

 

At the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, we implemented state-of-the-art of diffusion MR scans to study the evolution and development of connections. Here is a modified figure from our study published in Cerebral Cortex last year, which is available here. This study showed for the first time that we could use diffusion MR tractography to compare brain pathway maturation across species during fetal stages of development.

When I was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University, we studied the genetic basis of variation in DNA replication timing in human pluripotent stem cell lines. We harnessed genetic variation to identify genetic basis of variation in DNA replication timing. A preprint of that study is available here.

 

We use these cross-disciplinary skillsets to innovate the study of evolution and development of the human brain. Individuals interested in joining the lab at Delaware State University are encouraged to contact Dr. Christine Charvet at charvetcj@gmail.com. Students interested in graduate school can also contact me because we have a PhD program in Neuroscience in the Department of Biology at Delaware State University. Opportunities also exist to work remotely.

 

We are part of the COBRE Center for Neuroscience (led Dr. Melissa Harrington), 1200 N Dupont Highway, Delaware State University, Dover, DE, 19901.

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Welcome to the Charvet laboratory for developmental neuroscience!

Welcome to the Charvet laboratory for developmental neuroscience! Our research is focused on integrating high-through-put methods in neuroimaging and sequencing to translate time across species and to develop new tools to better study connections in health and in disease. We are especially focused on integrating diffusion MR tracrography with transcription. Cutting across scales of organization will enhance our ability to study pathways of the human brain and bridge the gap between model systems and humans.

We study developmental programs generating variation in brain structure and function across species. We use state of the art diffusion MR scans to trace pathways across the entire brain as shown below in a human brain. As you can see the human brain is composed of a complex web of networks. Diffusion MR imaging is a high-throughput method that relies on the principle of diffusion to reconstruct tracts (i.e., pathways). Although diffusion MR tractography is an exciting method to explore the structural connectivity of the brain, the tractography is sometimes questionable in its interpretation. Our lab is focused on developing new tools to ensure the accuracy of diffusion MR tractography so that we may develop a more complete understanding of human brain evolution. By integrating diffusion MR tractography with other scales of study, we can better map the human brain connectome and its evolution

Our innovation is to cut across connectomic and transcriptomic scales to enhance the study of connections in the human brain. We have recently published studies showcasing the power of this approach. We are excited to see that our approach is increasingly recognized as a powerful way to study the evolution and development of biological programs in the human lineage.

 

We published the first study that integrates diffusion MR tractography with transcription to study the evolution and development of connections. This paper, which was published in Cerebral Cortex in 2020, is also the first study from the lab! It’s available here.

 

While the lab was getting set up, I collected structural and transcriptional information to find corresponding ages across the lifespan in humans and chimpanzee. The study of chimpanzee is clouded by difficulty in sample acquisition and quality.  Integrating across scales overcomes many of the existing limitations associated with the study of human and non-human primate brain research. This research provides a rigorous approach with which to compare brain development and aging in humans and chimpanzees. The preprint is available here. The study addresses the following question but for a chimpanzee of any age!

From Hendy et al., 2020 in Cerebral Cortex-Christine Charvet lab

The importance of integrating across connectomic and transcriptomic scales is summarized here.

 

Past work in neuroimaging:

Here are some additional recent studies. Although they do not directly integrate across scales, they are pretty cool. They are from my training in neuroimaging at Harvard Medical School and genetics at Cornell University. It was all part of a long-term plan to cut across scales to enhance the study the evolution and development of the human brain.

 

At the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, we implemented state-of-the-art of diffusion MR scans to study the evolution and development of connections. Here is a modified figure from our study published in Cerebral Cortex last year, which is available here. This study showed, for the first time, that we could use diffusion MR tractography to compare brain pathway maturation across species during fetal stages of development.

From Charvet et al., 2020 in Cerebral Cortex-Emi Takahashi lab

Past working in Statistical Genetics:

When I was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University, we studied the genetic basis of variation in DNA replication timing across human pluripotent stem cell lines. Read depth was used as an index of DNA replication timing and can be used to quantify the relative timing of DNA replication across the genome. We used genome sequencing to identify the genetic basis of individual variation in DNA replication timing. A preprint of that study is available here.

 

Joining the lab:

In the Charvet lab, we use cross-disciplinary skills and concepts to innovate the study of evolution and development of the human brain. Individuals interested in joining the lab at Delaware State University are encouraged to contact Dr. Christine Charvet at charvetcj@gmail.com. We also have a PhD program in Neuroscience in the Department of Biology at Delaware State University. Opportunities also exist to work remotely!

 

We are part of the COBRE Center for Neuroscience, 1200 N Dupont Highway, Delaware State University, Dover, DE, 19901.

Also, please check out Evolutionary Neuroscience Events

Illustration at the top is from Charvet et al., 2014 (SFN poster); Hendy et al., 2019, Cerebral Cortex; Charvet, 2020, Developmental Dynamics; Sequencing data is made available thanks to Luo et al., 2017, Science

© 2020 by Charvet Laboratory For Developmental Neuroscience

Contact: charvetcj@gmail.com