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

Animal Models of Speech and Vocal Communication Deficits Associated with Psychiatric Disorders.
Konopka G, Roberts TF Biol. Psychiatry 2015 Jul
Molecular networks and the evolution of human cognitive specializations.
Fontenot M, Konopka G Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 2014 Sep 29C 52-59
Mutation of Senataxin Alters Disease-Specific Transcriptional Networks in Patients with Ataxia with Oculomotor Apraxia Type 2.
Fogel BL, Cho E, Wahnich A, Gao F, Becherel OJ, Wang X, Fike F, Chen L, Criscuolo C, De Michele G, Filla A, Collins A, Hahn AF, Gatti RA, Konopka G, Perlman S, Lavin MF, Geschwind DH, Coppola G Hum. Mol. Genet. 2014 Apr
Decoding the molecular evolution of human cognition using comparative genomics.
Usui N, Co M, Konopka G Brain Behav. Evol. 2014 84 2 103-16
Decoding human gene expression signatures in the brain.
Wang GZ, Konopka G Transcription 2013 May 4 3
Connecting signaling pathways underlying communication to ASD vulnerability.
Lepp S, Anderson A, Konopka G Int. Rev. Neurobiol. 2013 113 97-133
ASD-relevant Animal Models of the Foxp Family of Transcription Factors.
Bowers JM, Konopka G Autism Open Access 2012 Dec Suppl 1 10
Divergent Whole-Genome Methylation Maps of Human and Chimpanzee Brains Reveal Epigenetic Basis of Human Regulatory Evolution.
Zeng J, Konopka G, Hunt BG, Preuss TM, Geschwind D, Yi SV Am. J. Hum. Genet. 2012 Aug
RBFOX1 regulates both splicing and transcriptional networks in human neuronal development.
Fogel BL, Wexler E, Wahnich A, Friedrich T, Vijayendran C, Gao F, Parikshak N, Konopka G, Geschwind DH Human molecular genetics 2012 Jul
STAT3-iNOS Signaling Mediates EGFRvIII-Induced Glial Proliferation and Transformation.
Puram SV, Yeung CM, Jahani-Asl A, Lin C, de la Iglesia N, Konopka G, Jackson-Grusby L, Bonni A J. Neurosci. 2012 Jun 32 23 7806-18

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)