Dr Kruttika Phalnikar, postdoctoral fellow in Dr Bhavana Muralidharan’s lab in the Brain Development and Disease Mechanism theme at inStem has been awarded the IA Early career fellowship to study the “Role of disease risk variants in chromatin regulators as causative of neuropathological mechanisms in bipolar disorder”
Psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are severe and debilitating, however the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood, with a weak prognosis and uncertain treatment outcomes. The challenges in studying psychiatric illnesses include their complex genetics, environmental triggers, and unavailability of human-brain samples. Organoid-based disease modeling using patient-derived iPSCs and deep genetic sequencing have proven revolutionary in this context. Here, we study the neurodevelopmental basis of psychiatric illnesses, mainly bipolar disorder using brain organoids derived from patient iPSCs. We wish to unravel the cellular phenotypes and regulatory pathways that are altered in the disease condition. We access an excellent resource generated by ADBS which is inStem’s flagship program on campus that studies brain disorders in clinically dense Indian families with a history of psychiatric disorders.