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
- 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
- Cycling Transcriptional Networks Optimize Energy Utilization on a Genome Scale.
- Wang GZ, Hickey SL, Shi L, Huang HC, Nakashe P, Koike N, Tu BP, Takahashi JS, Konopka G Cell Rep 2015 Dec 13 9 1868-80
- FoxP1 orchestration of ASD-relevant signaling pathways in the striatum.
- Araujo DJ, Anderson AG, Berto S, Runnels W, Harper M, Ammanuel S, Rieger MA, Huang HC, Rajkovich K, Loerwald KW, Dekker JD, Tucker HO, Dougherty JD, Gibson JR, Konopka G Genes Dev. 2015 Oct 29 20 2081-96
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)