Dias Lab

The Dias Lab is broadly interested in the genetics of neurodevelopment. We are interested in better understanding the molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and intellectual disability.  In order to do this, we are tackling two major challenges in the field- cellular and clinical heterogeneity.

Cellular Heterogeneity:

The brain is an amazingly complex and heterogeneous tissue and is not immediately accessible for study in the human condition. We are interested in studying the molecular perturbations associated with neurodevelopmental disorders in different cellular subtypes in the human brain specifically. In order to do this, we are applying single cell genomic approaches on post-mortem human brain to identify cell-type and region-specific molecular changes related to neurodevelopment.

Clinical Heterogeneity:

Neurodevelopmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder are remarkably heterogenous, and yet, converge on a shared set of clinical symptoms. In order to make sense of this heterogeneity, the Dias Lab is interested in studying specific genetic disorders associated with neurodevelopmental disorders to identify shared and divergent molecular drivers.

The Dias Lab believes that the synergistic use of both approaches will shed light on fundamental mechanisms related to human neurodevelopment.

Caroline Dias, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

Caroline was born in Denver but grew up mostly in the beautiful garden state of NJ. She received her BA from Cornell University in Ithaca NY, studying Neurobiology and Behavior. Her undergraduate research experiences included chasing ants with poker chips at the University of Colorado Field Research Station. She subsequently did her MD, PhD at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC, where she completed her dissertation with Dr. Eric Nestler, studying the molecular neurobiology of addiction and depression in mouse models.  She did Pediatrics internship/residency at the Boson Combined Residency Program and completed the accelerated research track into Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship, also at Boston Children’s Hospital. It was during her fellowship training that she became interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders. She was fortunate to work in the laboratory of Dr. Christopher Walsh, where she learned about the amazing power of human genetics to illuminate fundamental mechanisms in neurobiology. The mountains called her back to Colorado and she is excited to be starting her lab at the Anschutz Medical Campus. Caroline works clinically in Developmental Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado when not in the lab.  Outside of clinic and the lab, Caroline loves exploring Colorado with her husband Mark and their dachshund/toy poodle mix Hazel.

The Dias Lab welcomes applications from individuals at all levels who have an interest in studying the genetics of neurodevelopment.  Please send your letter of interest and a CV to Caroline Dias.

For a full list of publications, please see Dr. Dias’ Bibliography

Recent Advances in Understanding the Genetic Architecture of Autism.

Dias CM, Walsh CA.

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2020 Aug 31; 21:289-304.

Large mosaic copy number variations confer autism risk.

Sherman MA, Rodin RE, Genovese G, Dias C, Barton AR, Mukamel RE, Berger B, Park PJ, Walsh CA, Loh PR.

Nat Neurosci. 2021 Feb;24(2):197-203.

De novo variants in TCF7L2 are associated with a syndromic neurodevelopmental disorder.

Dias C, Pfundt R, Kleefstra T, Shuurs-Hoeijmakers J, Boon EMJ, van Hagen JM, Zwijnenburg P, Weiss MM, Keren B, Mignot C, Isapof A, Weiss K, Hershkovitz T, Iascone M, Maitz S, Feichtinger RG, Kotzot D, Mayr JA, Ben-Omran T, Mahmoud L, Pais LS, Walsh CA, Shashi V, Sullivan JA, Stong N, Lecoquierre F, Guerrot AM, Charollais A, Rodan LH.

Am J Med Genet A. 2021 Aug;185(8):2384-2390.

Diversity / Equity / Inclusion

Diversity

We are committed to creating a diverse environment for students, residents, fellows, and faculty. We believe that an environment of inclusiveness and respect promotes excellence and that a setting where diversity is valued leads to the training of physicians who are prepared to practice culturally effective medicine and meet the needs of the various populations we serve. Visit our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in PEM page for more.