Lauren Weiss, PhD

What I Do

Dr. Weiss earned her BS in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan, where she began studying the genetics of autism in the lab of Dr. Miriam Meisler.  She received her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from The University of Chicago, where she worked with Dr. Carole Ober and Dr. Ed Cook, Jr.  Her postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics was carried out in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital/Broad Institute (Harvard/MIT) with Dr. Pamela Sklar and Dr. Mark Daly.  She joined the faculty of UCSF as a Staglin Family/IMHRO Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Institute for Human Genetics in 2008.

She does not believe her lab members need any interests outside of genetics, but she herself can sometimes be found rock climbing, hiking, glass blowing, attending book clubs, baking, or playing Bananagrams.

Biography

My laboratory focuses on understanding the genetic architecture of autism. We are working with genome-wide genetic data to identify additional susceptibility loci, the genetic mechanisms by which DNA variants influence autism risk, and the genetic and physiological pathways these risk loci implicate. We can use rich genetic datasets to ask questions about the role for copy number vs. SNP variation, rare vs. common variation, gene-sex interaction, gene-gene interaction, and gene-environment interaction.

We are also using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models to study known mutations or copy number variants predisposing to autism. We will first identify the effects of genetic risk variants and then be able to ascertain whether the effects of genetic risk can be modified at the cellular level by environmental or pharmacological agents. These models will be used to test hypotheses emerging from our genetic datasets.

Our long term goals are to use genetic tools to improve understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of autism and related traits.

Publications

  1. Lyall K, Croen LA, Weiss LA, Kharrazi M, Traglia M, Delorenze GN, Windham GC. Prenatal Serum Concentrations of Brominated Flame Retardants and Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability in the Early Markers of Autism Study: A Population-Based Case-Control Study in California. Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Aug 30; 125(8):087023.
  2. Lim ET, Uddin M, De Rubeis S, Chan Y, Kamumbu AS, Zhang X, D'Gama AM, Kim SN, Hill RS, Goldberg AP, Poultney C, Minshew NJ, Kushima I, Aleksic B, Ozaki N, Parellada M, Arango C, Penzol MJ, Carracedo A, Kolevzon A, Hultman CM, Weiss LA, Fromer M, Chiocchetti AG, Freitag CM, Church GM, Scherer SW, Buxbaum JD, Walsh CA. Rates, distribution and implications of postzygotic mosaic mutations in autism spectrum disorder. Nat Neurosci. 2017 Sep; 20(9):1217-1224.
  3. Mitra I, Tsang K, Ladd-Acosta C, Croen LA, Aldinger KA, Hendren RL, Traglia M, Lavillaureix A, Zaitlen N, Oldham MC, Levitt P, Nelson S, Amaral DG, Hertz-Picciotto I, Fallin MD, Weiss LA. Correction: Pleiotropic Mechanisms Indicated for Sex Differences in Autism. PLoS Genet. 2017 Jun; 13(6):e1006831.
  4. Traglia M, Croen LA, Lyall K, Windham GC, Kharrazi M, DeLorenze GN, Torres AR, Weiss LA. Independent Maternal and Fetal Genetic Effects on Midgestational Circulating Levels of Environmental Pollutants. G3 (Bethesda). 2017 Apr 03; 7(4):1287-1299.
  5. Traglia M, Bseiso D, Gusev A, Adviento B, Park DS, Mefford JA, Zaitlen N, Weiss LA. Genetic Mechanisms Leading to Sex Differences Across Common Diseases and Anthropometric Traits. Genetics. 2017 Feb; 205(2):979-992.
  6. Morris SM, Acosta MT, Garg S, Green J, Huson S, Legius E, North KN, Payne JM, Plasschaert E, Frazier TW, Weiss LA, Zhang Y, Gutmann DH, Constantino JN. Disease Burden and Symptom Structure of Autism in Neurofibromatosis Type 1: A Study of the International NF1-ASD Consortium Team (INFACT). JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Dec 01; 73(12):1276-1284.
  7. Mitra I, Tsang K, Ladd-Acosta C, Croen LA, Aldinger KA, Hendren RL, Traglia M, Lavillaureix A, Zaitlen N, Oldham MC, Levitt P, Nelson S, Amaral DG, Hertz-Picciotto I, Fallin MD, Weiss LA. Pleiotropic Mechanisms Indicated for Sex Differences in Autism. PLoS Genet. 2016 11; 12(11):e1006425.
  8. Yeh E, Weiss LA. If genetic variation could talk: What genomic data may teach us about the importance of gene expression regulation in the genetics of autism. Mol Cell Probes. 2016 Dec; 30(6):346-356.
  9. Josowitz R, Mulero-Navarro S, Rodriguez NA, Falce C, Cohen N, Ullian EM, Weiss LA, Rauen KA, Sobie EA, Gelb BD. Autonomous and Non-autonomous Defects Underlie Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in BRAF-Mutant hiPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes. Stem Cell Reports. 2016 Sep 13; 7(3):355-369.
  10. Rooney GE, Goodwin AF, Depeille P, Sharir A, Schofield CM, Yeh E, Roose JP, Klein OD, Rauen KA, Weiss LA, Ullian EM. Human iPS Cell-Derived Neurons Uncover the Impact of Increased Ras Signaling in Costello Syndrome. J Neurosci. 2016 Jan 06; 36(1):142-52.
  11. Krencik R, Hokanson KC, Narayan AR, Dvornik J, Rooney GE, Rauen KA, Weiss LA, Rowitch DH, Ullian EM. Dysregulation of astrocyte extracellular signaling in Costello syndrome. Sci Transl Med. 2015 May 06; 7(286):286ra66.
  12. Maier R, Moser G, Chen GB, Ripke S, Coryell W, Potash JB, Scheftner WA, Shi J, Weissman MM, Hultman CM, Landén M, Levinson DF, Kendler KS, Smoller JW, Wray NR, Lee SH. Joint analysis of psychiatric disorders increases accuracy of risk prediction for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. Am J Hum Genet. 2015 Feb 05; 96(2):283-94.
  13. Psychiatric genome-wide association study analyses implicate neuronal, immune and histone pathways. Nat Neurosci. 2015 Feb; 18(2):199-209.
  14. Desachy G, Croen LA, Torres AR, Kharrazi M, Delorenze GN, Windham GC, Yoshida CK, Weiss LA. Increased female autosomal burden of rare copy number variants in human populations and in autism families. Mol Psychiatry. 2015 Feb; 20(2):170-5.
  15. De Rubeis S, He X, Goldberg AP, Poultney CS, Samocha K, Cicek AE, Kou Y, Liu L, Fromer M, Walker S, Singh T, Klei L, Kosmicki J, Shih-Chen F, Aleksic B, Biscaldi M, Bolton PF, Brownfeld JM, Cai J, Campbell NG, Carracedo A, Chahrour MH, Chiocchetti AG, Coon H, Crawford EL, Curran SR, Dawson G, Duketis E, Fernandez BA, Gallagher L, Geller E, Guter SJ, Hill RS, Ionita-Laza J, Jimenz Gonzalez P, Kilpinen H, Klauck SM, Kolevzon A, Lee I, Lei I, Lei J, Lehtimäki T, Lin CF, Ma'ayan A, Marshall CR, McInnes AL, Neale B, Owen MJ, Ozaki N, Parellada M, Parr JR, Purcell S, Puura K, Rajagopalan D, Rehnström K, Reichenberg A, Sabo A, Sachse M, Sanders SJ, Schafer C, Schulte-Rüther M, Skuse D, Stevens C, Szatmari P, Tammimies K, Valladares O, Voran A, Li-San W, Weiss LA, Willsey AJ, Yu TW, Yuen RK, Cook EH, Freitag CM, Gill M, Hultman CM, Lehner T, Palotie A, Schellenberg GD, Sklar P, State MW, Sutcliffe JS, Walsh CA, Scherer SW, Zwick ME, Barett JC, Cutler DJ, Roeder K, Devlin B, Daly MJ, Buxbaum JD. Synaptic, transcriptional and chromatin genes disrupted in autism. Nature. 2014 Nov 13; 515(7526):209-15.
  16. Bershteyn M, Hayashi Y, Desachy G, Hsiao EC, Sami S, Tsang KM, Weiss LA, Kriegstein AR, Yamanaka S, Wynshaw-Boris A. Cell-autonomous correction of ring chromosomes in human induced pluripotent stem cells. Nature. 2014 Mar 06; 507(7490):99-103.
  17. Tsang KM, Croen LA, Torres AR, Kharrazi M, Delorenze GN, Windham GC, Yoshida CK, Zerbo O, Weiss LA. A genome-wide survey of transgenerational genetic effects in autism. PLoS One. 2013; 8(10):e76978.
  18. Adviento B, Corbin IL, Widjaja F, Desachy G, Enrique N, Rosser T, Risi S, Marco EJ, Hendren RL, Bearden CE, Rauen KA, Weiss LA. Autism traits in the RASopathies. J Med Genet. 2014 Jan; 51(1):10-20.
  19. Abrahams BS, Arking DE, Campbell DB, Mefford HC, Morrow EM, Weiss LA, Menashe I, Wadkins T, Banerjee-Basu S, Packer A. SFARI Gene 2.0: a community-driven knowledgebase for the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Mol Autism. 2013 Oct 03; 4(1):36.
  20. Martin PM, Yang X, Robin N, Lam E, Rabinowitz JS, Erdman CA, Quinn J, Weiss LA, Hamilton SP, Kwok PY, Moon RT, Cheyette BN. A rare WNT1 missense variant overrepresented in ASD leads to increased Wnt signal pathway activation. Transl Psychiatry. 2013 Sep 03; 3:e301.
  21. Cheng Y, Quinn JF, Weiss LA. An eQTL mapping approach reveals that rare variants in the SEMA5A regulatory network impact autism risk. Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Jul 15; 22(14):2960-72.
  22. Goodwin AF, Oberoi S, Landan M, Charles C, Groth J, Martinez A, Fairley C, Weiss LA, Tidyman WE, Klein OD, Rauen KA. Craniofacial and dental development in cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome: the importance of Ras signaling homeostasis. Clin Genet. 2013 Jun; 83(6):539-44.
  23. Chow ML, Pramparo T, Winn ME, Barnes CC, Li HR, Weiss L, Fan JB, Murray S, April C, Belinson H, Fu XD, Wynshaw-Boris A, Schork NJ, Courchesne E. Age-dependent brain gene expression and copy number anomalies in autism suggest distinct pathological processes at young versus mature ages. PLoS Genet. 2012; 8(3):e1002592.
  24. Weiss LA. Autism genetics: emerging data from genome-wide copy-number and single nucleotide polymorphism scans. Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2009 Nov; 9(8):795-803.
  25. Weiss LA, Arking DE, Daly MJ, Chakravarti A. A genome-wide linkage and association scan reveals novel loci for autism. Nature. 2009 Oct 08; 461(7265):802-8.
  26. Weiss LA. New insights into genomic variation in health and disease. Genome Med. 2009 Apr 22; 1(4):41.
  27. Blaya C, Moorjani P, Salum GA, Gonçalves L, Weiss LA, Leistner-Segal S, Manfro GG, Smoller JW. Preliminary evidence of association between EFHC2, a gene implicated in fear recognition, and harm avoidance. Neurosci Lett. 2009 Mar 06; 452(1):84-6.
  28. Miller DT, Shen Y, Weiss LA, Korn J, Anselm I, Bridgemohan C, Cox GF, Dickinson H, Gentile J, Harris DJ, Hegde V, Hundley R, Khwaja O, Kothare S, Luedke C, Nasir R, Poduri A, Prasad K, Raffalli P, Reinhard A, Smith SE, Sobeih MM, Soul JS, Stoler J, Takeoka M, Tan WH, Thakuria J, Wolff R, Yusupov R, Gusella JF, Daly MJ, Wu BL. Microdeletion/duplication at 15q13.2q13.3 among individuals with features of autism and other neuropsychiatric disorders. J Med Genet. 2009 Apr; 46(4):242-8.
  29. Weiss LA, Shen Y, Korn JM, Arking DE, Miller DT, Fossdal R, Saemundsen E, Stefansson H, Ferreira MA, Green T, Platt OS, Ruderfer DM, Walsh CA, Altshuler D, Chakravarti A, Tanzi RE, Stefansson K, Santangelo SL, Gusella JF, Sklar P, Wu BL, Daly MJ. Association between microdeletion and microduplication at 16p11.2 and autism. N Engl J Med. 2008 Feb 14; 358(7):667-75.
  30. Kim HG, Kishikawa S, Higgins AW, Seong IS, Donovan DJ, Shen Y, Lally E, Weiss LA, Najm J, Kutsche K, Descartes M, Holt L, Braddock S, Troxell R, Kaplan L, Volkmar F, Klin A, Tsatsanis K, Harris DJ, Noens I, Pauls DL, Daly MJ, MacDonald ME, Morton CC, Quade BJ, Gusella JF. Disruption of neurexin 1 associated with autism spectrum disorder. Am J Hum Genet. 2008 Jan; 82(1):199-207.
  31. Thompson EE, Pan L, Ostrovnaya I, Weiss LA, Gern JE, Lemanske RF, Nicolae DL, Ober C. Integrin beta 3 genotype influences asthma and allergy phenotypes in the first 6 years of life. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Jun; 119(6):1423-9.
  32. Cross S, Kim SJ, Weiss LA, Delahanty RJ, Sutcliffe JS, Leventhal BL, Cook EH, Veenstra-Vanderweele J. Molecular genetics of the platelet serotonin system in first-degree relatives of patients with autism. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Jan; 33(2):353-60.
  33. Weiss LA, Purcell S, Waggoner S, Lawrence K, Spektor D, Daly MJ, Sklar P, Skuse D. Identification of EFHC2 as a quantitative trait locus for fear recognition in Turner syndrome. Hum Mol Genet. 2007 Jan 01; 16(1):107-13.
  34. Weiss LA, Ober C, Cook EH. ITGB3 shows genetic and expression interaction with SLC6A4. Hum Genet. 2006 Aug; 120(1):93-100.
  35. Weiss LA, Kosova G, Delahanty RJ, Jiang L, Cook EH, Ober C, Sutcliffe JS. Variation in ITGB3 is associated with whole-blood serotonin level and autism susceptibility. Eur J Hum Genet. 2006 Aug; 14(8):923-31.
  36. Weiss LA, Pan L, Abney M, Ober C. The sex-specific genetic architecture of quantitative traits in humans. Nat Genet. 2006 Feb; 38(2):218-22.
  37. Kurina LM, Weiss LA, Graves SW, Parry R, Williams GH, Abney M, Ober C. Sex differences in the genetic basis of morning serum cortisol levels: genome-wide screen identifies two novel loci specific to women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Aug; 90(8):4747-52.
  38. Weiss LA, Abney M, Parry R, Scanu AM, Cook EH, Ober C. Variation in ITGB3 has sex-specific associations with plasma lipoprotein(a) and whole blood serotonin levels in a population-based sample. Hum Genet. 2005 Jun; 117(1):81-7.
  39. Weiss LA, Lester LA, Gern JE, Wolf RL, Parry R, Lemanske RF, Solway J, Ober C. Variation in ITGB3 is associated with asthma and sensitization to mold allergen in four populations. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Jul 01; 172(1):67-73.
  40. Weiss LA, Abney M, Cook EH, Ober C. Sex-specific genetic architecture of whole blood serotonin levels. Am J Hum Genet. 2005 Jan; 76(1):33-41.
  41. Weiss LA, Veenstra-Vanderweele J, Newman DL, Kim SJ, Dytch H, McPeek MS, Cheng S, Ober C, Cook EH, Abney M. Genome-wide association study identifies ITGB3 as a QTL for whole blood serotonin. Eur J Hum Genet. 2004 Nov; 12(11):949-54.
  42. Weiss LA, Escayg A, Kearney JA, Trudeau M, MacDonald BT, Mori M, Reichert J, Buxbaum JD, Meisler MH. Sodium channels SCN1A, SCN2A and SCN3A in familial autism. Mol Psychiatry. 2003 Feb; 8(2):186-94.