PhD, Wayne State University
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine
Office: 257 SPH/PI
Phone: (312) 413-4577
Web Site: Dennis Grayson Departmental Page
Dr. Grayson’s research is designed to provide a better understanding of the molecular epigenetic mechanisms underpinning the etiology of psychiatric disorders. For example, understanding the role of DNA methylation in modulating gene expression and the role that this epigenetic regulation plays in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. DNA methylating enzymes such as DNMT1 and DNMT3a are abundant in post-mitotic neurons. However, it is not clear whether methylation acts as a reversible switch to turn on and off genes and how this process varies between functionally distinct neuronal phenotypes. Which promoters are affected by changes in methylation in GABAergic interneurons vs. glutamatergic pyramidal neurons. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are a class of histone modifying proteins associated with chromatin remodeling and gene silencing. HDAC inhibitors reverse this process and differentially activate gene expression in cell-type specific patterns. What determines whether a specific promoter will be expressed in response to different HDAC inhibitors and in which type of neuron? These questions are relevant to cognitive performance and behaviors relevant to psychiatric disease.