Dr. Matthew Farrer

Genomics and Proteomics

Dr. Farrer currently directs the Centre for Applied Neurogenetics (CAN; http://www.can.ubc.ca/) within the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. Research interests are neurologic and age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Projects include the genetic analysis of patient DNA samples from multi-incident pedigrees and population isolates, in many countries/Continents. Techniques include human statistical (linkage & association) and molecular genetics, high-throughput sequencing (Illumina and Proton) and copy number analyses, bioinformatics and Sanger sequencing, to identify mutations underlying disease. Dr. Farrer also has a keen interest in translational neuroscience and the physiologic characterization of those mutations in model systems. Based on ‘etiologic’ discovery in human patients/families subtle changes have been made to the mouse genome (cre-loxP conditional recombineering) to enable studies of mature primary cell cultures, brain slices and whole animals, using a combination of electrophysiology, microdialysis, behavioral assays and neuropharmacology. Similar studies are applied to human iPSC (with Crispr/cas9 editing) and neuronal differentiation albeit limited to primary co-culture characterization. Our objective is to ‘predict and prevent’ brain disorders; we provide molecular targets, tools and research insights to ‘lower the bar’ for pharmaceutical investment in brain health, and to encourage the development of disease-modifying therapeutics aimed at neuroprotection.

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