Michael Oldham, PhD

Assistant Professor
Neurological Surgery

The molecular basis of cellular identity in the human brain

The overarching goal of my lab’s research is to understand the molecular basis of cellular identity in the human brain in health and disease.  Our work is motivated by a simple but powerful idea: by analyzing gene coexpression relationships in heterogeneous tissue samples, it is possible to isolate robust transcriptional signatures of distinct cell types and cellular processes in silico.  The engine of my lab is a computational pipeline for analyzing and characterizing gene coexpression relationships in large transcriptomic datasets.  We are using this pipeline to study the organization of the non-pathological, adult human brain transcriptome and to develop genome-wide, quantitative models of gene expression that will allow us to predict gene expression levels and identify transcriptional aberrations in any neurological condition, but with a particular emphasis on glioma.  We are also performing comparisons between humans and other species to identify cell type-specific transcriptional differences during brain development.  In the long run, we aspire to predict the cellular composition of any human brain specimen purely on the basis of gene expression.

Current Projects

Participation in these projects generally ensures that lab members are fluent (or develop fluency) in computational and experimental research strategies:

  1. Identifying the direct transcriptional consequences of specific driver mutations in glioma
  2. Developing standardized sampling and analytical strategies for maximizing the amount of molecular information that can be obtained from a single tissue specimen
  4. Determining the functional consequences of cell type-specific transcriptional differences between humans and other species during brain development
  5. Modeling gene expression in the human brain

Lab Members

Sam Shelton, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
[email protected]

Chandra Sekhar Saki Raju, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
[email protected]

Kevin Kelley
Neuroscience Graduate Student
[email protected]

Lab Website