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

Human brain evolution: harnessing the genomics (r)evolution to link genes, cognition, and behavior.
Konopka, G., and Geschwind, D.H. Neuron 2010 68(2) 231-44
Neuroscience in the era of functional genomics and systems biology.
Geschwind DH, Konopka G Nature 2009 Oct 461 7266 908-15
Functional organization of the transcriptome in human brain.
Oldham MC, Konopka G, Iwamoto K, Langfelder P, Kato T, Horvath S, Geschwind DH Nat. Neurosci. 2008 Nov 11 11 1271-82
Deregulation of a STAT3-interleukin 8 signaling pathway promotes human glioblastoma cell proliferation and invasiveness.
de la Iglesia N, Konopka G, Lim KL, Nutt CL, Bromberg JF, Frank DA, Mischel PS, Louis DN, Bonni A J. Neurosci. 2008 Jun 28 23 5870-8
Identification of a PTEN-regulated STAT3 brain tumor suppressor pathway.
de la Iglesia N, Konopka G, Puram SV, Chan JA, Bachoo RM, You MJ, Levy DE, Depinho RA, Bonni A Genes Dev. 2008 Feb 22 4 449-62
Junctional adhesion molecule-A is critical for the formation of pseudocanaliculi and modulates E-cadherin expression in hepatic cells.
Konopka G, Tekiela J, Iverson M, Wells C, Duncan SA J. Biol. Chem. 2007 Sep 282 38 28137-48
Identification of the transcriptional targets of FOXP2, a gene linked to speech and language, in developing human brain.
Spiteri, E., Konopka, G., Coppola, G., Bomar, J., Oldham, M., Ou, J., Vernes, S.C., Fisher, S.E., Ren, B., and Geschwind, D.H. American Journal of Human Genetics 2007 81(6) 1144-57
Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4alpha orchestrates expression of cell adhesion proteins during the epithelial transformation of the developing liver.
Battle MA, Konopka G, Parviz F, Gaggl AL, Yang C, Sladek FM, Duncan SA Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2006 May 103 22 8419-24
Lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF/p75) expression in fetal and adult human brain.
Chylack LT, Fu L, Mancini R, Martin-Rehrmann MD, Saunders AJ, Konopka G, Tian D, Hedley-Whyte ET, Folkerth RD, Goldstein LE Exp. Eye Res. 2004 Dec 79 6 941-8
Signaling pathways regulating gliomagenesis.
Konopka G, Bonni A Curr. Mol. Med. 2003 Feb 3 1 73-84

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)