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The dream of receiving treatment that is finetuned to your precise genetics is coming to life at the PNRI lab bench. This kind of treatment is based not just on your genetics, but also how your genes interact with your environment. The future of healthcare: treatments built with your entire experience in mind. 

PNRI’s Stubbs Lab studies gene regulation—the systems responsible for orchestrating the interaction between genes and human brain cells. These processes are key to understanding how the brain responds to life events. Dr. Lisa Stubbs leads her team in investigating how the impact of a person’s experiences can lead to changes in gene regulation.

Dr. Stubbs and her lab members have joined forces with PNRI’s Galas Lab on the Decoding Stress Study. Chronic stress is linked to several health concerns including anxiety, depression, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The Decoding Stress Study pursues answers to why some people are deeply affected by these serious conditions while others are not, and what role genetics plays in those different outcomes. 

Drs. Stubbs and Galas have each brought important tools to the work of understanding the impact of stress on human health. Dr. Stubbs is a world-renowned expert in neuroscience, and Dr. David Galas had an illustrious career applying novel computational approaches to find ways to improve the human condition.

After Dr. Galas passed away in May 2023, his pioneering work in developing new tools to understand gene regulation remains a guide for the future work. The Stubbs Lab will continue the research that aims to provide the genetic basis for future personalized treatment for stress-related diseases. 

“We’re aiming to understand the genetic factors involved in making certain individuals hypersensitive to certain stressors and to see the downstream effects,” says Dr. Stubbs. “This is a chance to work on a problem that is hugely important to public health.”