Dallman Research Lab, University of Miami - Southeast USA SYNGAP1 Center of Excellence *Consortium Partner

Julia Dallman, PhD - Principal Investigator (Basic Science), Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Miami

The central goal of the Dallman lab is to determine mechanisms by which genetic mutations produce symptoms of the disease. To address this question, my group generates zebrafish models of inherited human neurological disorders to understand how mutations impact neural circuit development and produce resulting symptoms. The Dallman Lab is located in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami and is currently funded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development to investigate gastrointestinal comorbidities linked to mutations in the SHANK3 gene that cause Phelan McDermid Syndrome. We focus on symptoms such as developmental delay and gastrointestinal distress that have been difficult to assess in more common mammalian models. In our future work, we hope to extend our studies to SYNGAP1, mutations in which are also linked to gastrointestinal distress. Our zebrafish syngap1 mutant model also exhibits reduced gastrointestinal motility consistent with gastrointestinal distress. By comparing zebrafish models with either syngap1 or shank3 mutations, we can elucidate both shared and distinct mechanisms by which different mutations produce these symptoms. Our long-term goal is to leverage the high-throughput drug screening capabilities in zebrafish models to inform treatment strategies for individuals with inherited nervous system disorders.

We will be beginning the first SYNGAP1 gut study in late 2020 in partnership with our new Southeast Syngap1 Center of Excellence. The partnership will include Joe DiMaggio Hospital System, Carolina Medical, Duke University, and Miami University.

Website: Dallman Research Lab

*Dr. Dallman is a basic science researcher and does not see patients in a clinical setting.