Seminar – Justin Wolter, PhD – “Exploring Mechanisms Underlying the Effect of Common Genetic Variation on Neurodevelopmental Traits in Genetically Diverse Cell Lines”

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John D. Wiley Conference Center, Room T216
@ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Waisman Center

Justin Wolter, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison

About the Speaker: Justin Wolter pursued his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology in the lab of Marco Mangone at Arizona State University. The Mangone lab used C. elegans as a model to understand how post-transcriptional gene regulation affects development processes.  During this time Justin learned to love basic science and gained a deep appreciation for the power of model organisms. Dr. Wolter expanded his training in neuroscience at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Never able to settle on just one project, the rich environment at UNC allowed Justin to work with several labs simultaneously. He developed a CRISPR based gene therapy for Angelman syndrome (Zylka lab), used mass-spec to investigate molecular deficits in a childhood onset neurodegenerative ataxia (UNC Catalyst for Rare Disease), and developed an approach to study how common genetic variation affects cellular phenotypes (Stein Lab). The result of these diverse experiences laid the groundwork for projects in the Wolter Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

His primary scientific interest is how genetic variation shapes brain development. By leveraging his training in genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, and neurodevelopment, his lab is studying how genetic variation both common and rare alters neurodevelopment, and in turn influences risk and resilience to neurological disorders. This broad interest has led him to study several neurological disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, and ataxia. There are many common features across these disorders, allowing the development of tools and resources that can be applied broadly to understanding underlying molecular deficiencies. In the past several years his work has focused on two questions: 1. How does common genetic variation affect molecular and cellular phenotypes in autism spectrum disorder, and 2. What neurodevelopmental processes predispose a neuron to neurodegenerative insult, and what pathways do cells employ to survive? To answer these questions his lab uses use both human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and classic genetic mouse models, and technologies such as massively parallel cell culture, single cell RNAsequencing, and proteomics.

For Further Information, Contact: Clark Kellogg at
The seminar series is funded by the John D. Wiley Conference Center Fund, the Friends of the Waisman Center and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) grant P50HD105353.

Justin Wolter, PhD