Stephanie A. Herrlinger

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Stephanie received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Georgia under the mentorship of Jian-Fu "Jeff" Chen exploring the impact of Neural Progenitor Cell (NPC) behaviors on brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders. Following concern from the Zika virus epidemic and subsequent increase in microcephaly incidence in affected areas, she developed an in uterointracranial inoculation method to establish a model of Zika virus-induced microcephaly in mice and discovered that the virus causes microcephaly by disrupting NPCs and vascular development. The second major focus of her dissertation was to examine the role of post-transcriptional regulators in brain development whereby she identified that the RNA-binding protein Lin28 drives NPC expansion by promoting mRNA translation, specifically regulating transcripts relevant to ribosome biogenesis, translation initiation, and the cell cycle. 

At Columbia, Stephanie is working with Joseph Gogos and Attila Losonczy to uncover disrupted biological mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders. Schizophrenic patients exhibit cognitive deficits including defective episodic memory and working memory and previous work studying a mouse model for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, the largest genetic known risk for SCZ, indicates that disrupted hippocampal place cell activity may contribute to this pathophysiology. Her collaboration aims to identify the biological processes underlying these deficits in the hippocampus by directly linking changed physiological properties and altered transcriptional activity in hippocampal place cells during goal directed learning in a model for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.