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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Janine LaSalle, Ph.D.


University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Rm 3428 Tupper Hall
Davis, CA 95616
Tel: (530) 754-7598
Lab: (530) 754-7906
FAX: (530) 752-8692



UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute

Compucyte Laser Scanning Cytometer

International Rett Syndrome Association (IREA)

UC Davis Cancer Center

Rowe Program in Human Genetics

UC Davis Genome Center

Member of the Graduate Groups of Genetics, Biophysics, Neuroscience,  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Welcome to the LaSalle Lab's Homepage

Our laboratory is interested in the role of epigenetics in human autism-spectrum disorders. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in chromosomes that are not encoded in the DNA sequence, including DNA methylation and chromatin organization. The clinical applications of our research include understanding the pathogenesis of the neurodevelopmental disorders autism, Rett syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Angelman syndrome. Our laboratory has recently focused on a protein that binds to methylated DNA, methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2). The gene for MECP2 is on the X chromosome and is mutated in Rett syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders. We are currently testing the role of MeCP2 in the regulation of gene expression and the organization of parentally imprinted chromosomes. We are also investigating the role of MeCP2 in chromatin dynamics neuronal ontogeny during post-natal neuronal maturation in the cerebral cortex.

Current Lab Members

Dag Yasui, Ph.D., Project Scientist

Diane Schroeder, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

Mike Gonzales, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

Karen Leung, Genetics Graduate Student

Malaika Singleton, Neuroscience graduate student

Rima Woods, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate student

Weston Powell, M.D./Ph.D. candidate

Roxanne Vallero, Genetics Graduate Student

Haley Scoles, Genetics Graduate Student

Amy George, Junior Specialist

Joanne Suarez, Junior Specialist

Keith Dunaway, Junior Specialist

Past Lab Members

Amber Hogart, Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH

Christy Ballard, Graduated UC Irvine in Genetic Counseling

Susan Swanberg, Ph.D., Postdoctoral fellow, UCD

Ravi Nagarajan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral fellow, UCSF

Sailaja Peddada, Ph.D., Postdoctoral fellow, UCSF

Katherine Patzel, combined M.D./Ph.D. student, NIH Graduate Partners Program

Selected Recent Publications

Yasui DH, and LaSalle JM. 2009. Evolving role of MECP2 in Rett syndrome and autism. Epigenomics. 1:119-130.

Leung KN, Vallero RO, DuBose AJ, Resnick JL, LaSalle JM. 2009. Imprinting regulates mammalian snoRNAencoding chromatin decondensation and neuronal nucleolar size. Hum. Mol. Genet., 18:4227-4238. PMCID: 19656775.

Swanberg SE, Nagarajan RP, Peddada S, Yasui DH, LaSalle JM. 2009. Reciprocal co-regulation of EGR2 and MECP2 is disrupted in Rett syndrome and autism. Hum. Mol Genet. 18:525-534. PMCID: 19000991.

Hogart A, Patzel KA, and LaSalle JM. 2008. Gender influences monoallelic expression of ATP10A in human brain. Hum. Genet., 124:235-242. PMID: 18726118, NIHMSID # 88432, in process

Hogart A, Leung KN, Wang NJ, Wu DJ, Driscoll J, Vallero RO, Schanen NC, LaSalle JM. 2008. Chromosome 15q11-13 duplication syndrome brain reveals epigenetic alterations in gene expression not predicted from copy number. J. Med. Genet., 46:86-93. PMCID: 18835857

Wang NJ, Parokonny AS, Thatcher KN, Driscoll J, Malone BM, Sigman M, LaSalle JM, Schanen NC. 2008. Multiple forms of atypical rearrangements generating supernumerary derivative chromosome 15, BMC Genetics, 9:2. PMCID: 18177502

Yasui DH, Peddada S, Bieda MC, Vallero RO, Hogart A, Nagarajan RP, Thatcher KN, Farnham PJ,LaSalle JM. 2007. Integrated epigenomic analyses of neuronal MeCP2 reveal a role for long-range interaction with active genes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 104:19416-19421. PMCID: 18042715

Hogart A, Nagarajan RP, Patzel KA, Yasui DH, LaSalle JM. 2007. 15q11-13 GABAA receptor genes are normally biallelically expressed in brain yet are subject to epigenetic dysregulation in autism-spectrum disorders. Hum. Mol. Genet. 16:691-703. PMCID: 17339270

LaSalle Lab Links