• About
  • Selected Publications
About

About

Gianluca Ursini, M.D., Ph.D., is an Investigator in Functional Genomics at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development. His main interest is the dynamic interaction between genes and epigenetic factors during brain development and activity. He is currently investigating how early events such as obstetrical complications modulate the relationship of schizophrenia with genomic risk, through processes potentially related to placental functioning. Dr. Ursini is also interested in the complexity of the noncoding RNA landscape, and in this regard he is studying divergent noncoding transcription, which provides a potential compelling mechanism for the fine-tuning regulation of protein-coding genes expression. Both projects highlight how genes critical for brain development and disorders exert their effects differently depending on the context where they act, i.e. environmental factors (e.g. early life events) and epigenetic mechanisms of regulation (e.g. divergent RNAs). Dr. Ursini attended the University of Bari ‘A. Moro’, where he received a M.D. in 2002, a residency in Psychiatry in 2006 and a Ph.D. in ‘Experimental Neurobiology’ in 2011. Over the course of his residency and his Ph.D., he has been performing studies on schizophrenia using a combination of imaging and genetics techniques, triggering the investigation of the relationship between epigenetic factors, genetic variants and brain phenotypes. He joined the Lieber Institute in the spring of 2012, as a visiting scientist first and then as post-doctoral fellow.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Blasi G, Napolitano F, Ursini G, Taurisano P, Romano R, Caforio G, Fazio L, Gelao B, Di Giorgio A, Iacovelli L, Sinibaldi L, Popolizio T, Usiello A, Bertolino A. DRD2/AKT1 interaction on D2 c-AMP independent signaling, attentional processing and response to olanzapine treatment in schizophrenia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011,108:1158-63.

Ursini G, Bollati V, Fazio L, Porcelli A, Iacovelli L, Catalani A, Sinibaldi L, Gelao B, Romano R, Rampino A, Taurisano P, Mancini M, Di Giorgio A, Popolizio T, Baccarelli A, De Blasi A, Blasi G, Bertolino A. Stress-related methylation of the COMT Val158 allele predicts human prefrontal cognition and activity. The Journal of Neuroscience 2011, 31:6692-8.

Punzi G, Ursini G, Shin JH, Kleinman JE, Hyde TM, Weinberger DR. Increased expression of MARCKS in post-mortem brain of violent suicide completers is related to transcription of a long, noncoding, antisense RNA Molecular Psychiatry. Molecular Psychiatry 2014 Oct,19(10):1057-9.

Yoon KJ, Nguyen HN, Ursini G, Zhang F, Kim NS, Wen Z, Makri G, Nauen D, Shin JH, Park Y, Chung R, Pekle E, Zhang C, Towe M, Hussaini SM, Lee Y, Rujescu D, St Clair D, Kleinman JE, Hyde TM, Krauss G, Christian KM, Rapoport JL, Weinberger DR, Song H, Ming GL Modeling a Genetic Risk for Schizophrenia in iPSCs and Mice Reveals Neural Stem Cell Deficits Associated with Adherens Junctions and Polarity. Cell Stem Cell 2014 Jul 3,15(1):79-91.

Ursini G, Cavalleri T, Fazio T, Angrisano T, Iacovelli L, Porcelli A, Maddalena G, Punzi G, Mancini M, Gelao B, Romano R, Masellis R, Calabrese F, Rampino A, Taurisano P, Di Giorgio A, Keller S, Tarantini L, Sinibaldi L, Quarto T, Popolizio T, Caforio G, Blasi G, Riva MA, De Blasi A, Chiariotti L, Bollati V, Bertolino A BDNF rs6265 methylation and genotype interact on risk for schizophrenia. Epigenetics 2016 Jan 2,11(1):11-23.