Luis de la Torre-Ubieta is a postdoctoral fellow in the Geschwind laboratory at UCLA.  He received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Harvard University where he uncovered the role of FoxO transcription factors in the establishment of neuronal polarity. There he also co-authored several studies examining cell-intrinsic signaling mechanisms regulating different aspects of neuronal morphogenesis including dendrite growth, axon branching, neuronal migration, and postsynaptic development.

In the Geschwind laboratory he uses unbiased approaches to understand brain development and cell diversity in vivo, and to evaluate human neural stem cell models.

In a major effort towards this end, he co-developed an unbiased quantitative approach to assess the capacity of human in vitro systems to model brain development using transcriptional profiling. This work not only provided a tool for the scientific community to assess the fidelity of in vitro cultures (https://context.semel.ucla.edu), but also revealed key differences and limitations that will inform the development of new approaches.

He now focuses on integrating gene expression, chromatin accessibility and chromatin structure dynamics during human cortical neurogenesis and profiling cell diversity in fetal human cortex using single-cell transcriptomics. His goal is to use these interdisciplinary approaches in order to translate findings in human genetics into practical therapeutics for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Speaker at
22-23 September 2016, Leuven, Belgium