The Genetics and Epigenetics of Behavior

Penn Genetics 2023 Global Scientific Symposium

A two-day hybrid symposium featuring talks from 14 experts, as well as 2 discussion panels, a poster session and social hour. All lectures will be streamed.

MAY 2-3, 2023 | 10:30AM – 5PM EDT | Smilow Center for Translational Research Rubenstein Auditorium


Day 1 Recording | Day 2 Recording


For more information email Sadie Robinson at


Keynote Speakers

Anne Schaefer, MD, PhD
Friedman Brain Institute
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

Keri Martinowich, PhD
Lieber Institute for Brain Development
Johns Hopkins University



Day 1 – May 2, 2023

10:35SESSION 1 | Genetics and epigenetics of innate behaviors (sleep, feeding, and sociability)
Session Chair: Maja Bucan

Amita Seghal and Vishnu Cuddapah
“Understanding how sleep loss increases seizure risk using Drosophila”

Michael Hart and Brandon Bastien
“Distinct neurexin isoforms cooperate to initiate and maintain foraging activity in C. elegans”

Struan Grant and Amber Zimmerman
“Variant-to-gene mapping paired with cross-species validation reveals novel effector genes for insomnia”

Matthew Kayser and Kyla Mace
“A cross-species approach to hypersomnia genetics informed by human GWAS"
12:00 PANEL DISCUSSION | Translational therapeutics in neuroscience at Penn
Moderator: Erica Korb

Ben Prosser
Melisa Lopez-Anton
Bhavana Mohanraj
Michael Granato
Keri Martinowich

“Cell type and spatially-resolved multiomic approaches for understanding human brain disorders”
3:00SESSION 2 | Genetics and epigenetics in neurological disorders and addiction
Session Chair: Michael Hart

Kahlilia Blanco
“Epigenetic regulation of motor and cognitive function recovery following brain injury”

Marc Fuccillo and Kyuhyun Choi
“Unveiling the role of Zswim6 in striatal circuit formation”

Elizabeth Heller and Julia Winter
“Epigenetic regulation in preclinical models of cocaine addiction”
Poster Session Chairs: Ziyue Gao and Nicholas Hand

Day 2 – May 3, 2023

Anne Schaefer, MD, PhD

"The operational principles of neuron-microglia circuit"
11:25PANEL DISCUSSION | Collaborations: Integrating across neuroscience and genetics research
Moderator: Michael Hart

Maria Fasolino
Elizabeth Bhoj
Keegan Krick
Hao Wu
1:00SESSION 3 | Genetics and epigenetics in neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders
Session Chair: Kahlilia Blanco

Hongjun Song
“Modeling dose-dependent 15q11.2 CNV genetic risks for psychiatric disorders”

Elizabeth Bhoj
“Dissecting the pathogenic mechanism of germline histone mutations in neurodevelopmental histonopathies”

Michael Gandal and Arjun Bhattacharya
“Isoform-level transcriptome-wide association studies for neuropsychiatric traits”

Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou
“Genetic dissection of CDKL5 deficiency disorder”
3:00SESSION 4 | Genetics and epigenetics of learning and behavior
Session Chair: Thomas Jongens

Kaushal Prize Announcement
2023 Award Recipient | Jian Hu

Erica Korb
“The role of histone variant H2BE in neuronal function and memory formation”

Michael Granato and Philip Campbell
“Mitochondrial proteins encoded by the 22q11.2 locus regulate behavior and neural stem cell development”

Shelley Berger and Micheal Gilbert
“Genetic Reprogramming of Nurse Behavior in leafcutter ants”