James H Eubanks

James H Eubanks, PhD

Epigenetics refers to a process in which the modification of chromatin structure controls gene expression. While epigenetic factors are recognized to play critical roles in the process of oncogenesis and normal embryonic development, relatively little knowledge exists regarding how epigenetic factors regulate normal brain development and function.

The clear involvement of epigenetics in brain development has been highlighted recently by the identification that mutations in the epigenetic factor MeCP2 cause the pediatric neurological condition of Rett syndrome.

My lab is investigating the role of this factor, as well as its related family members, in normal brain function. We have obtained mice that are deficient for specific epigenetic factors that allow us to study the consequences of loss of function.

In addition, we have generated several transgenic mouse lines in which the expression of a specific factor can be induced in neuronal populations. These mice allow us to study the consequences of over-expression.

Our previous work has shown that the expression of these factors is altered in the brains of animals following stroke or epilepsy, and that pharmacological targeting of the complexes in which they reside protects the brain from a stoke-like challenge.

Thus, we are also investigating whether specific epigenetic factors play a role in insult-induced neurodegeneration, or whether they influence the tolerance of neurons to such challenges. These examinations span from whole animal behavioral studies to investigations of primary neurons in defined culture conditions.
Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 08;6:38590
Sheikh TI, Ausió J, Faghfoury H, Silver J, Lane JB, Eubanks JH, MacLeod P, Percy AK, Vincent JB
J Neural Eng. 2016 Nov 30;14(1):016002
Colic S, Wither RG, Lang M, Zhang L, Eubanks JH, Bardakjian BL
Ann Neurol. 2016 Jul 27;
Joshi K, Shen L, Michaeli A, Salter M, Thibault-Messier G, Hashmi S, Eubanks JH, Cortez MA, Snead OC
Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2015 Aug;2015:5606-9
Colic S, Wither RG, Min Lang, Zhang Liang, Eubanks JH, Bardakjian BL
PLoS One. 2015;10(12):e0144113
Wang J, Wu C, Peng J, Patel N, Huang Y, Gao X, Aljarallah S, Eubanks JH, McDonald R, Zhang L
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Oct 26;
Zhang L, Wither RG, Lang M, Wu C, Sidorova-Darmos E, Netchev H, Matolcsy CB, Snead OC, Eubanks JH
Epilepsia. 2015 May 29;
Blichowski M, Shephard A, Armstrong J, Shen L, Cortez MA, Eubanks JH, Snead OC
Cell Death Dis. 2015;6:e1744
Shabanzadeh AP, Tassew NG, Szydlowska K, Tymianski M, Banerjee P, Vigouroux RJ, Eubanks JH, Huang L, Geraerts M, Koeberle PD, Mueller BK, Monnier PP
Exp Neurol. 2015 May 2;
Wu C, Wang J, Peng J, Patel N, Huang Y, Gao X, Aljarallah S, Eubanks JH, McDonald R, Zhang L
Epilepsy Res. 2015 Mar;111:142-9
Peng J, Li R, Arora N, Lau M, Lim S, Wu C, Eubanks JH, Zhang L


Professor, Department of Physiology and Department of Surgery, University of Toronto