Biography

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.

Education

Undergraduate
Massachusetts Institute of Tec (1997), Biology
Graduate School
Harvard University (2004)

Research Interest

  • Autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease
  • Brain evolution
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neurogenetics

Publications

Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

A CRISPR screen identifies IFI6 as an ER-resident interferon effector that blocks flavivirus replication.
Richardson RB, Ohlson MB, Eitson JL, Kumar A, McDougal MB, Boys IN, Mar KB, De La Cruz-Rivera PC, Douglas C, Konopka G, Xing C, Schoggins JW Nat Microbiol 2018 Sep
Regulatory genes and pathways disrupted in autism spectrum disorders.
Ayhan F, Konopka G Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 2018 Aug
Genomics of autism spectrum disorder: approach to therapy.
Ayhan F, Konopka G F1000Res 2018 7
Kctd13 deletion reduces synaptic transmission via increased RhoA.
Escamilla CO, Filonova I, Walker AK, Xuan ZX, Holehonnur R, Espinosa F, Liu S, Thyme SB, López-García IA, Mendoza DB, Usui N, Ellegood J, Eisch AJ, Konopka G, Lerch JP, Schier AF, Speed HE, Powell CM Nature 2017 Nov 551 7679 227-231
MEF2C regulates cortical inhibitory and excitatory synapses and behaviors relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders.
Harrington AJ, Raissi A, Rajkovich K, Berto S, Kumar J, Molinaro G, Raduazzo J, Guo Y, Loerwald K, Konopka G, Huber KM, Cowan CW Elife 2016 Oct 5
Comparative Methylome Analyses Identify Epigenetic Regulatory Loci of Human Brain Evolution.
Mendizabal I, Shi L, Keller TE, Konopka G, Preuss TM, Hsieh TF, Hu E, Zhang Z, Su B, Yi SV Mol. Biol. Evol. 2016 Aug
ELAVL2-regulated transcriptional and splicing networks in human neurons link neurodevelopment and autism.
Berto S, Usui N, Konopka G, Fogel BL Hum. Mol. Genet. 2016 Jun
Western Zika Virus in Human Fetal Neural Progenitors Persists Long Term with Partial Cytopathic and Limited Immunogenic Effects.
Hanners NW, Eitson JL, Usui N, Richardson RB, Wexler EM, Konopka G, Schoggins JW Cell Rep 2016 Jun 15 11 2315-22
Insights into the Neural and Genetic Basis of Vocal Communication.
Konopka G, Roberts TF Cell 2016 Mar 164 6 1269-76
Sumoylation of FOXP2 Regulates Motor Function and Vocal Communication Through Purkinje Cell Development.
Usui N, Co M, Harper M, Rieger MA, Dougherty JD, Konopka G Biol. Psychiatry 2016 Feb

Books

Featured Books Legend Featured Books

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
    (2013)
  • Young Investigator Award
    International Society for Autism Research (2013)
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award
    NIMH (2010)
  • Young Investigator Award
    National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) (2008)
  • A. P. Giannini Foundation Medical Research Fellowship
    (2007)
  • NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship
    (2005)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • International Society for Autism Research (2012)
  • UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) (2011)
  • Society for Neuroscience (1997)