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Robert Morell, Ph.D.
Director, Genomics and Computational Biology Core
Robert J. Morell received a B.S. in biology with a mathematics minor from Hope College; an M.S. 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
- Nakano Y, Kelly MC, Rehman AU, Boger ET, Morell RJ, Kelley MW, Friedman TB, Banfi B (2018) Defects in the alternative splicing-dependent regulation of REST cause deafness. Cell 174:536-548 e521.
- Ryals M, Morell RJ, Martin D, Boger ET, Wu P, Raible DW, Cunningham LL (2018) The inner ear heat shock transcriptional signature identifies compounds that protect against aminoglycoside ototoxicity. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 12.
- Song Y, Milon B, Ott S, Zhao X, Sadzewicz L, Shetty A, Boger ET, Tallon LJ, Morell RJ, Mahurkar A, Hertzano R (2018) A comparative analysis of library prep approaches for sequencing low input translatome samples. BMC Genomics 19:696.
- 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.
- Walentin K, Hinze C, Werth M, Haase N, Varma S, Morell R, Aue A, Potschke E, Warburton D, Qiu A, Barasch J, Purfurst B, Dieterich C, Popova E, Bader M, Dechend R, Staff AC, Yurtdas ZY, Kilic E, Schmidt-Ott KM (2015) A Grhl2-dependent gene network controls trophoblast branching morphogenesis. Development 142:1125-1136.
- Varma S, Cao Y, Tagne JB, 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 287:37282-37295.
- Schultz JM et al. (2009) Noncoding mutations of HGF are associated with nonsyndromic hearing loss, DFNB39. Am J Hum Genet 85:25-39.
- Peters LM, Belyantseva IA, Lagziel A, Battey JF, Friedman TB, Morell RJ (2007) Signatures from tissue-specific MPSS libraries identify transcripts preferentially expressed in the mouse inner ear. Genomics 89:197-206.
- Peters LM, Anderson DW, Griffith AJ, Grundfast KM, San Agustin TB, Madeo AC, Friedman TB, Morell RJ (2002) Mutation of a transcription factor, TFCP2L3, causes progressive autosomal dominant hearing loss, DFNA28. Human molecular genetics 11:2877-2885.