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Robert Morell, Ph.D.
Director, Genomics and Computational Biology Core
Robert J. Morell received a B.S. degree in biology with a mathematics minor from Hope College; an M.S. degree from the neuroscience program at Michigan State University; and a Ph.D. in zoology from Michigan State University. He has published numerous papers on the identification and characterization of genes that cause hearing loss.
In addition to serving as director of the Genomics and Computational Biology Core (GCBC) and providing bioinformatics support for researchers at both the NIDCD and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), Dr. Morell conducts research on animal models of genes that cause hereditary hearing loss in humans. Hereditary hearing loss is a highly heterogeneous disorder, with well over 100 genes known to cause deafness in humans. Most of the identified genes encode proteins, and to understand how those mutations cause deafness, one must understand the normal functions of the proteins and their contributions to the architecture and physiology of the auditory system. Some of the mutations that cause deafness, however, operate at the level of gene regulation. The goal of the GCBC’s study, Molecular and Epigenetic Mechanisms of Hereditary Hearing Loss, is to understand the patterns of gene regulation in the cochlea, and how certain mutations perturb normal regulation and cause deafness.
Genomics and Computational Biology Core
Molecular and epigenetic mechanisms of hereditary hearing loss
- Burns JC, Kelly MC, Hoa M, Morell RJ, Kelley MW. (2015) Single-cell RNA-Seq resolves cellular complexity in sensory organs from the neonatal inner ear. Nat Commun. 6:8557.
- Raza MH, Mattera R, Morell R, Sainz E, Rahn R, Gutierrez J, Paris E, Root J, Solomon B, Brewer C, Basra MA, Khan S, Riazuddin S, Braun A, Bonifacino JS, Drayna D. (2015) Association between rare variants in AP4E1, a component of intracellular trafficking, and persistent stuttering. Am. J. Hum Genet. 97(5):715-725.
- Mujtaba G, Schultz JM, Imtiaz A, Morell RJ, Friedman TB, Naz S. (2015) A mutation of MET, encoding hepatocyte growth factor receptor, is associate with human DFNB97 hearing loss. J Med Genet. 52(8):548-552.
- Rehman AU, Santos-Cortez RL, Morell RJ, Drummond MC, Ito T, Lee K, Khan AA, Basra MA, Wasif N, Ayub M, Ali RA, Raza SI; University of Washington Center for Mendelian Genomics, Nickerson DA, Shendure J, Bamshad M, Riazuddin S, Billington N, Khan SN, Friedman PL, Griffith AJ, Ahmad W, Riazuddin S, Leal SM, Friedman TB. (2014) Mutations in TBC1D24, a gene associated with epilepsy, also cause nonsyndromic deafness DFNB86. Am. J. Hum Genet. 94(1):144-152.
- Lee S, Conrad T, Jones S, Lagziel A, Starost MF, Belyantseva I, Friedman TB, Morell RJ. (2013) A null mutation of Kcna10 causes a vestibular and hearing dysfunction in a mouse model. Hear Res. 300:1-9.
- Jenkinson EM, Rehman AU, Walsh T, Clayton-Smith J, Lee K, Morell RJ, Drummond MC, Khan SN, Naeem MA, Rauf B, Billington N, Schultz JM, Urquhart JE, Lee MK, Berry A, Hanley NA, Mehta S, Cilliers D, Clayton PE, Kingston H, Smith MJ, Warner TT, Black GC, Trump D, Davis JRE, Ahmad W, Leal SM, Riazuddin S, King MC, Friedman TB, Newman WG (2013) Perrault syndrome is caused by recessive mutations of the Mitochondrial ATP-dependent Chambered Protease CLPP. Am J Hum Genet, 92(4):605-613.
- Varma S, Cao Y, Tagne J-B, Lakshminarayanan M, Li J, Friedman TB, Morell RJ, Warburton D, Kotton DN, Ramirez MI. (2012) The transcription factors Grainyhead-like 2 and NK2-homeobox 1 form a regulatory loop that coordinates lung epithelial cell morphogenesis and differentiation. J. Biol. Chem. 287(44):37282-37295.
- Rehman AU, Gul K, Morell RJ, Lee K, Ahmed ZA, Riazuddin S, Ali RA, Shahzad M, Jaleel A, Andrade PB, Khan SN, Khan S, Brewer CC, Ahmad W, Leal SM, Riazuddin S, Friedman TB. (2011) Mutations of GIPC3 cause nonsyndromic hearing loss DFNB72 but not DFNB81 that also maps to chromosome 19p. Hum Genet, 130:759-765.
- Borck G, Rehman AU, Lee K, Pogoda H-M, Kakar N, Von Ameln S, Grillet N, Hildebrand MS, Ahmed ZM, Nürnberg G, Ansar M, Basit S, Javed Q, Morell RJ, Nasreen N, Shearer AE, Ahmad A, Kahrizi K, Shaikh RS, Ali RA, Khan SN, Goebel I, Meyer NC, Kimberling WJ, Webster JA, Stephan DA, Schiller MR, Bahlo M, Najmabadi H, Gillespie PG, Nürnberg P, Wollnik B, Riazuddin S, Smith RJH, Ahmad W, Müller U, Hammerschmidt M, Friedman TB, Riazuddin S, Leal SM, Ahmad J, Kubisch C (2011) Loss-of-function mutations of ILDR1 cause autosomal-recessive hearing impairment DFNB42. Am J Hum Genet, 88:127-137.