Kristen Brennand, PhD Email Kristen Brennand
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Neuroscience
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Genetics and Genomic Sciences
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Psychiatry
Kristen Brennand is a stem cell biologist working to bridge the fields of developmental neuroscience and psychiatry. A major focus of her work is developing in vitro models for schizophrenia in order to identify novel insights into the molecular and cellular phenotypes of mental illness. She works with the Department of Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Psychiatry, and the Icahn Institute for Data Science and Genomic Technology.
Gene Expressions, Human Genetics and Genetic Disorders, Migration, Schizophrenia, Stem Cells, Synaptogenesis
Multi-Disciplinary Training Areas
Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cells [DRS], Genetics and Data Science [GDS], Neuroscience [NEU]
BSc, University of Calgary
PhD, Harvard University
, Salk Institute for Biological Sciences
NARSAD Independent Investigator Award
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
NIH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists
New York Stem Cell Foundation
Visit our website at: http://icahn.mssm.edu/research/labs/brennand-laboratory
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a debilitating psychiatric disorder. While its characteristic symptoms generally appear late in adolescence, SZ is thought to be a neurodevelopmental condition, often predated by a prodromal period that can appear in early childhood. Though postmortem studies of SZ brain tissue typically describe defects in mature neurons, such as reduced neuronal size and spine density in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, abnormalities of neuronal organization, particularly in the cortex, have also been reported. Due in part to the lack of live patient material for study, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of disease initiation and progression remain unknown. Though aberrant migration of human neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and reduced connectivity of human neurons has been hypothesized to contribute to disease initiation, neither mechanism is understood in live human neurons.
Through clinical collaborations, we have obtained skin samples from well-characterized cohorts of children and adults with SZ as well as samples from healthy controls. Having reprogrammed these skin cells into human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and directed these hiPSCs to undergo neural differentiation, we can generate near limitless quantities of live healthy and SZ NPCs and neurons. By identifying differences between healthy and diseased neurons, we hope to elucidate the mechanisms that result in SZ and to screen for new drugs with which to reverse the cellular defects contributing to disease.
Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.
Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. Brennand during 2018 and/or 2019. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.
- Alekermes, Inc.
Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.
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