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Allen Institute for Brain Science neuroanatomist receives Top Poster Award at Society of Biological Psychiatry 2011 meeting

Angela Bongaarts receives Top Poster Award for research on gene expression in schizophrenia

July 6, 2011 | Download PDF

Angela Bongaarts, a neuroanatomist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, received the Top Poster Award in the category of Basic Science at the recent Society of Biological Psychiatry (SOBP) meeting, which was held May 12-14, 2011 in San Francisco, California.

Using data available from the Allen Human Brain Atlas, Bongaarts presented a descriptive view of the underlying biological architecture in the brains of people with schizophrenia compared to controls. The award highlights the value of this integrative study, which combines a previous understanding of anatomy with gene expression information, paving the way for a more complete understanding of the biological processes involved in the development and pathology of this multifaceted and debilitating disease. It also highlights one of many applications of the Allen Human Brain Atlas in accelerating an integrative understanding of the human brain in health and disease.

With a focus on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), an area of the brain that has been widely implicated in the development of schizophrenia, the winning poster describes differences in gene expression in patients with schizophrenia compared to controls. While the DLPFC is one of the brain areas strongly correlated to the pathology and development of schizophrenia, previous research confers little agreement on the underlying biological architecture involved.

Gene expression was analyzed by in situ hybridization (ISH), a technique that allows for precise localization of specific genes. This data set, known as the Schizophrenia Study, is a subset of data within the Allen Human Brain Atlas and all images and raw data employed in the research are freely available via the Allen Brain Atlas portal: The Allen Institute encourages further use and analysis of this and all data available through the portal.

The title and focus of the SOBP meeting this year was Paradigm Shifts in the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: Past Lessons, Current Trends, Future Possibilities. Top Poster Awards were given to the single best poster in the categories of Basic Science and Clinical/Translational Science, chosen from over 750 posters presented at the conference.