David Ashbrook, Assistant Professor, UTHSC

dashbrook at UTHSC.edu

Bio

My primary research interest is the brain, and its resultant behavioural phenotypes. I am intrigued by how genes and environment can interact, and how these interactions can be traced through a biological system to result in long term changes at the whole organism level, both in terms of complex behaviour and neuropsychiatric disorders. The ability to produce and share massive datasets is one of the most exciting advancements in modern science because it enables a comprehensive systems approach to fundamental biological questions.

Specifically, I am interested in how earlier experience, e.g. parental care, can influence the reaction to later life events, and how this interacts with genetics.

I graduated in 2011 from the University of Leeds with a BSc in Neuroscience, which included a year spent on industrial placement at AstraZeneca. I carried out my PhD in Systems Biology at the University of Manchester‘s doctoral teaching centre with Dr Reinmar Hager, receiving my degree in December 2015. From January 2016 to September 2017 I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the McGowan lab at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. From October 2017 – February 2020 I was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Robert W Williams within the Department of Genetics, Genomics and Informatics, at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis. I am now a Assistant Professor in the same department.

Publications

  1. Potter, H. G., Ashbrook, D. G., and Hager, R. (2018). Offspring genetic effects on maternal care. Front. Neuroendocrinol. doi:10.1016/j.yfrne.2018.12.004.
  2. Herrera, S., de Vega, W. C., Ashbrook, D., Vernon, S. D., and McGowan, P. O. (2018). Genome-epigenome interactions associated with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Epigenetics 13, 1174–1190. doi:10.1080/15592294.2018.1549769.
  3. Ashbrook, D. G., Roy, S., Clifford, B. G., Riede, T., Scattoni, M. L., Heck, D. H., et al. (2018). Born to Cry: A Genetic Dissection of Infant Vocalization. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 12, 250. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00250.
  4. Ashbrook, D. G., Hing, B., Michalovicz, L. T., Kelly, K. A., Miller, J. V, de Vega, W. C., et al. (2018). Epigenetic impacts of stress priming of the neuroinflammatory response to sarin surrogate in mice: a model of Gulf War illness. J. Neuroinflammation 15, 86. doi:10.1186/s12974-018-1113-9.
  5. Ashbrook, D. G., Mulligan, M. K., and Williams, R. W. (2017). Post-genomic behavioral genetics: From revolution to routine. Genes, Brain Behav., e12441. doi:10.1111/gbb.12441
  6. Ashbrook, D.G., Sharmin, N., Hager, R., 2017. Offspring genes indirectly influence sibling and maternal behavioural strategies over resource share. Proc. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 284, 20171059. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1059
  7. Ashbrook, D. G., and Hager, R. (2017). “Social interactions and indirect genetic effects on complex juvenile and adult traits” in Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), eds. K. Schughart and R. W. Williams (New York: Springer New York), 499–517. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-6427-7_24.
  8. Ashbrook, D. G., Gini, B., and Hager, R. (2015). Genetic variation in offspring indirectly influences the quality of maternal behaviour in mice. Elife 4. doi:10.7554/eLife.11814.
    • Won the University of Manchester Faculty of Life Sciences best publications
  9. Ashbrook, D. G., Williams, R. W., Lu, L., and Hager, R. (2015). A cross-species genetic analysis identifies candidate genes for mouse anxiety and human bipolar disorder. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 9, 171. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00171.
  10. Hibar, D. P., Stein, J. L., Renteria, M. E., Arias-Vasquez, A., Desrivières, S., Jahanshad, N., Toro, R., Wittfeld, K., Abramovic, L., Andersson, M.,…Ashbrook, D.G., Hager, R., et al. (2015). Common genetic variants influence human subcortical brain structures. Nature 520, 224–229. doi:10.1038/nature14101.
  11. Ashbrook, D. G., Delprato, A., Grellmann, C., Klein, M., Wetzel, R., Overall, R. W., and Badea, A. (2014). Transcript co-variance with Nestin in two mouse genetic reference populations identifies Lef1 as a novel candidate regulator of neural precursor cell proliferation in the adult hippocampus. Front. Neurosci. 8, 418. doi:10.3389/fnins.2014.00418.
  12. Ashbrook, D. G., Williams, R. W., Lu, L., Stein, J. L., Hibar, D. P., Nichols, T. E., Medland, S. E., Thompson, P. M., and Hager, R. (2014). Joint genetic analysis of hippocampal size in mouse and human identifies a novel gene linked to neurodegenerative disease. BMC Genomics 15, 850. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-850.
  13. Ashbrook, D. G., and Hager, R. (2013). Empirical testing of hypotheses about the evolution of genomic imprinting in mammals. Front. Neuroanat. 7, 6. doi:10.3389/fnana.2013.00006.

In preparation or submission

  1. Sandoval-Sierra, J. V., Helbing, A. H. B., Williams, E. G., Ashbrook, D. G., Roy, S., Williams, R. W., et al. (2019). Influence of body weight at young adulthood on the epigenetic clock and lifespan in the BXD murine family. bioRxiv, 791582. doi:10.1101/791582.
  2. Ashbrook, D. G., Arends, D., Prins, P., Mulligan, M. K., Roy, S., Williams, E. G., et al. (2019). The expanded BXD family of mice: A cohort for experimental systems genetics and precision medicine. bioRxiv, 672097. doi:10.1101/672097
  3. Wang, N., Anderson, R. J., Ashbrook, D. G., Gopalakrishnan, V., Park, Y., Priebe, C. E., et al. (2019). Node-specific heritability in the mouse connectome. bioRxiv, 701755. doi:10.1101/701755.
  4. Cahill, S., Ashbrook, D.G., Hager, R. (In submission) A cross-species systems genetics analysis links APBB1IP as a candidate for schizophrenia and prepulse inhibition. In submission
  5. Ashbrook, D.G., Ren, Y., Palmer, A., Clark, A.G., Pritchard, J.K., Harris, K., Lu, L., Williams, R.W. (In preparation) Deep sequencing of the BXD family. In preparation

Conferences and selected presentations

  1. Systems Genetics: From Genomes to Complex Traits, EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany , 29 September – 2 October 2019
    • Talk: ‘Sequencing the BXD family, a cohort for experimental systems genetics and precision medicine’
  1. 33rd International Mammalian Genome Society Conference, Strasbourg, France, 25-28 September 2019
    • Talk: ‘Sequencing the BXD family, a cohort for experimental systems genetics and precision medicine’
    • Received IMGS Scholarship to attend
  1. Complex Traits Consortium / Rat Genomics 17th Annual Meeting, La Jolla, CA, USA, 8-11 June, 2019
    • Talk: ‘Sequencing the BXD family, a cohort for experimental systems genetics and precision medicine’
  1. 21st Annual Genes, Brain & Behavior Meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 10-14 May, 2019
    • Talk: ‘Sequencing the BXD family, a cohort for experimental systems genetics and precision medicine’
  1. Parental Brain Conference 2018, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 13-14 July, 2018
    • Talk: ‘Indirect genetic effects of, and on, maternal care’
    • Invited speaker
  1. 16th Annual Meeting of the Complex Trait Community in collaboration with the Rat Genomics Community, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, 20-22 June, 2018
    • Talk: ‘Sequencing the BXD family, a cohort for experimental systems genetics and precision medicine’
  1. 20th Annual Genes, Brain & Behavior Meeting, Rochester, MN, USA, 17-21 May 2018
    • Talk: ‘Sequencing the BXD family, a cohort for experimental systems genetics and precision medicine’
    • Awarded IBANGS Young Investigator Travel Award to attend the conference
  1. 15th Annual Meeting of The MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society, Starville, MS, USA, 29-31 March 2018
    • Talk: ‘Sequencing the BXD family, a cohort for experimental systems genetics and precision medicine’
  1. 11th Annual Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, Montreal, Québec, Canada, 28-31 May 2017
    • Poster: ‘Epigenetic impacts of stress priming of the neuroinflammatory response to sarin surrogate in mice: a model of Gulf War Illness’
  1. The Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium Network Annual Meeting, “Epigenomics in Development and Disease”, Estérel, Québec, Canada, 18-21 September 2016
    • Awarded a CEEHRC Travel Award to attend the conference
    • Poster: ‘Epigenetic effects of corticosterone priming of the neuroinflammatory response to DFP in mice: a model of Gulf War Illness’
  1. MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics 6th Annual Summer School in Brain Disorder Research, Cardiff, UK, 6th – 9th July 2015
    • Attendance award by MRC and NISCHR
  1. 2015 Complex Trait Community 14th Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, USA, 8th – 11th June 2015
    • Talk: ‘Indirect genetic effects influence sibling and maternal behaviour in mice’
  1. From functional genomics to systems biology, EMBO Conference Series, Heidelberg, Germany, 8th – 11th November 2014
    • Poster: ‘Joint genetic analysis of hippocampal size in mouse and human identifies a novel gene linked to neurodegenerative disease’
  1. 2014 PhD Conference, Manchester, UK, 9th May 2014
    • Talk: ‘Joint genetic analysis of hippocampal volume in mouse and human identifies novel genes linked to neurodegenerative disease’
    • Prize for best talk
  1. INCF Course on Neuroinformatics, Neurogenomics and Brain Disease, Fraueninsel, Germany, 14th – 20th September 2013
    • Resulted in a paper (Ashbrook et al. 2014)
  1. Systems Biology Graduate Conference 2012, Oxford, UK, 26th – 27th June 2012
    • Poster: ‘Investigating parent-­of-­origin and imprinting effects in BXD using bioinformatics tools’
  1. The Dynamics of Disease – a Workshop in Medical Systems Biology, Manchester, UK, 28th Nov – 2nd Dec 2011

Future conferences

  1. 18th Annual Meeting of the Complex Trait Community in collaboration with the Rat Genomics Community, Manchester, UK, 2-4 September 2020

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