Michael McConnell

McConnell, Michael J

Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics


  • Postdoc, Stanford University
  • Postdoc, Harvard Medical School
  • BS, Zoology, North Carolina State University
  • PhD, Biomedical Sciences, University of California, San Diego

Contact Information

PO Box 800733
1340 JPA Pinn Hall Room 6042
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: (434) 924-0154
Fax: (434) 924-5069
Email: mjm2zv@virginia.edu
Website: http://www.mcconnell-lab.org

Research Interests

The Cause and Consequence of Somatic Mosaicism in Neurons

Research Description

The brain is a genetic mosaic. Neuron-to-neuron genomic differences - brought about by endogenous mobile element activity, by idiosyncratic sub-chromosomal amplifications and deletions, and by whole chromosome gains and losses – are hypothesized to “individualize” behavioral phenotypes. To explore the causes and consequences of genetic mosaicism in neural circuits, my laboratory develops high-throughput single cell approaches and employs these approaches to study human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neurons, as well as transgenic mice. We have three immediate research goals: 1) determine if genetic mosaicism leads to somatic selection during the development of neural circuits; 2) understand how genetic mosaicism affects the performance of neural circuits; and 3) discover genes that mediate the propensity for genetic mosaicism. Moreover, altered levels of mosaicism have been associated with neurodegenerative (e.g., Ataxia-telangiectasia) and neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and Rett’s syndrome). A deeper understanding of these and other neurological disorders is expected from ever-increasing understanding and measurement of neuronal genomic diversity.

Selected Publications