Graduate Student Directory


Elizabeth Cirulli
UPGG Graduate Student

320B LSRC B
Box 91009 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710

Phone: 919.681.0441
Fax: 919.668.6787
Email: liz.cirulli@duke.edu

Research Interest: Genetics and pharmacogenetics of cognitive performance.

I am interested in genetics and pharmacogenetics of cognitive performance. Our lab is recruiting a large sample of healthy volunteers to take a battery of cognitive tests that represent diverse areas of cognitive ability such as verbal fluency, working memory and processing speed. Each subject is genotyped
using the Illumina Humanhap550 chip, and then whole-genome association analysis is performed on both single nucleotide polymorphisms and copy number variants.

We hope to use this method to identify genes that influence normal cognitive processes in healthy volunteers. I am also interested in cognitive response to the antiepileptic drug topiramate. This drug causes decreased performance in specific cognitive areas in some patients. This is interesting because most antiepileptic drugs that cause cognitive impairment cause a generalized slowing, not specific effects as with topiramate. It is also interesting because not all patients have this reaction to topiramate. I will therefore
also be studying both patients, who are taking topiramate, and healthy volunteers, who are willing to take topiramate, to try to understand the genetic influences of cognitive response to topiramate. The combination of these two projects should provide very specific information about which genes affect which aspects
of cognition.

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