Dr. Huentelman's research interests center around the investigation of the “-omics” (genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics) of neurological traits and disease. His laboratory’s overarching goal is to leverage findings in these disciplines to better understand, diagnose, and treat human diseases of the nervous system.
Dr. Huentelman joined TGen in July of 2004 after completing his doctoral work at the University of Florida’s Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics at the McKnight Brain Institute where he investigated the application of gene therapy in the study and prevention of hypertension. His undergraduate degree is in Biochemistry from Ohio University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Clippinger Laboratories. Dr. Huentelman’s career includes visiting researcher stints in Moscow, Russia at the MV Lomonosov Moscow State University “Biology Faculty” and in the United Kingdom within the University of Bristol’s Department of Physiology.
Alzheimer’s Disease | The Huentelman lab examines Alzheimer’s disease with the use of next generation DNA and RNA sequencing. They are interested in helping to identify an individual’s personal risk for developing the disease as early as possible in life. This ability will become increasingly important as newer prevention style therapeutics are tested and approved for use. They also undertake the genomic study of phenotypic outliers – like individuals who have extremely high risk for AD but who avoid the disease for their entire life – to better understand how Alzheimer’s progresses and may be prevented.
Aging | Just like other physiological developmental stages our individual response to the process of aging differs dramatically from person to person. Importantly the natural process of aging takes place over many decades and therefore our lifestyle choices and demographic factors may play a major role in how each one of us ages. The Huentelman lab is using genomics and transcriptomics to better understand why some individuals exhibit better cognitive aging when compared to others. The hope is that through the better understanding of these differences we may someday be able to develop therapeutics that could enable a larger portion of the population to exhibit better cognitive aging.
Cognition | Our individual differences in brain performance remain of great interest to the field of Neuroscience. Dr. Huentelman’s group leverages their innovative web-based approach to study the demographic and genetic drivers of these individual differences in brain performance via their study site at www.mindcrowd.org. The overarching goal of this research is to utilize this new information to improve brain performance in all humans with the hope of enabling greater number of individuals to avoid diseases of cognition or to decrease their severity.
Rare Disease | The genetic dissection of rare human disease is uniquely powered by our ability to sequence the entire human genome and interpret the results with increasing clarity. The Huentelman laboratory utilizes this approach to tackle rare diseases in children - via TGen’s Center for Rare Childhood Disorders - as well as in adults. The greatest successes in this area come from the study of the entire nuclear family, therefore, Dr. Huentelman’s group typically focuses on the study of diseases that strike at a time in life when the affected patient and parent’s DNA can be studied together.