Dr. Konopka is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and the Jon Heighten Scholar in Autism Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Konopka received dual bachelor of science degrees in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biology from MIT and completed her Ph.D. in Neurobiology at Harvard University. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including a NARSAD Young Investigator Award, an NIH Pathway to Independence Award, a Basil O’Connor Scholar Award from the March of Dimes, a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and an Understanding Human Cognition Scholar Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation.
The research in the Konopka lab focuses on understanding the molecular pathways important for human brain evolution that are also at risk in cognitive disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer disease. Her lab uses a combination of human neurons, animal models, and primate comparative genomics to uncover human-specific, disease-relevant patterns of gene expression. Dr. Konopka is particularly interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying language and part of her research has focused on the FOXP family of transcription factors. Recent work in her lab integrates gene expression with signatures of neuronal activity in the human brain. The Konopka lab is also part of the international Human Cell Atlas effort to map gene expression in every cell of the human body.
- Massachusetts Institute of Tec (1997), Biology
- Graduate School
- Harvard University (2004)
- Autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease
- Brain evolution
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Cortical Foxp2 Supports Behavioral Flexibility and Developmental Dopamine D1 Receptor Expression.
- Co M, Hickey SL, Kulkarni A, Harper M, Konopka G, Cereb. Cortex 2019 Nov
- Accelerated evolution of oligodendrocytes in the human brain.
- Berto S, Mendizabal I, Usui N, Toriumi K, Chatterjee P, Douglas C, Tamminga CA, Preuss TM, Yi SV, Konopka G, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019 Nov 116 48 24334-24342
- Cell type-specific epigenetic links to schizophrenia risk in the brain.
- Mendizabal I, Berto S, Usui N, Toriumi K, Chatterjee P, Douglas C, Huh I, Jeong H, Layman T, Tamminga CA, Preuss TM, Konopka G, Yi SV, Genome Biol. 2019 Jul 20 1 135
- Foxp1 regulation of neonatal vocalizations via cortical development.
- Usui N, Araujo DJ, Kulkarni A, Co M, Ellegood J, Harper M, Toriumi K, Lerch JP, Konopka G Genes Dev. 2017 Nov
- Novel transcriptional networks regulated by CLOCK in human neurons.
- Fontenot MR, Berto S, Liu Y, Werthmann G, Douglas C, Usui N, Gleason K, Tamminga CA, Takahashi JS, Konopka G Genes Dev. 2017 Nov 31 21 2121-2135
- Foxp1 in forebrain pyramidal neurons controls gene expression required for spatial learning and synaptic plasticity.
- Araujo DJ, Toriumi K, Escamilla CO, Kulkarni A, Anderson AG, Harper M, Usui N, Ellegood J, Lerch JP, Birnbaum SG, Tucker HO, Powell CM, Konopka G J. Neurosci. 2017 Oct
- Human Genomic Signatures of Brain Oscillations During Memory Encoding.
- Berto S, Wang GZ, Germi J, Lega BC, Konopka G Cereb. Cortex 2017 Apr 1-16
- Correspondence between Resting-State Activity and Brain Gene Expression.
- Wang GZ, Belgard TG, Mao D, Chen L, Berto S, Preuss TM, Lu H, Geschwind DH, Konopka G Neuron 2015 Nov 88 4 659-66
- Human-specific transcriptional networks in the brain.
- Konopka G, Friedrich T, Davis-Turak J, Winden K, Oldham MC, Gao F, Chen L, Wang GZ, Luo R, Preuss TM, Geschwind DH Neuron 2012 Aug 75 4 601-17
- Human-specific transcriptional regulation of CNS development genes by FOXP2.
- Konopka, G., Bomar, J.M., Winden, K., Coppola, G., Jonsson, Z.O., Gao, F., Peng, S., Preuss, T.M., Wohlschlegel, J.A., and Geschwind, D.H. Nature 2009 462(7270) 213-7
International Review of Neurobiology: Neurobiology of Autism
Konopka, G (Ed.) (2013). London, UK, Elsevier
Evolution and Development of Language. In Advances in Evolutionary Developmental Biology
Miller, D.J., and Konopka, G. (2013). Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc
FOXP2: linking language and autism. In The Autisms: Molecules to Model Systems
Konopka, G. (2013). New York, NY, Oxford University Press
Honors & Awards
- Understanding Human Cognition Scholar Award
The James S. McDonnell Foundation (2016)
- Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award
March of Dimes (2013)
- Kavli Fellow
- Young Investigator Award
International Society for Autism Research (2013)
- NIH Pathway to Independence Award
- Young Investigator Award
National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) (2008)
- A. P. Giannini Foundation Medical Research Fellowship
- NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship
- International Society for Autism Research (2012)
- UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) (2011)
- Society for Neuroscience (1997)