Serge McGraw

Serge McGraw, PhD

Associate Professor, Deputy Head of the Foetomaternal and Neonatal Pathologies Axis, University of Montreal

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Research interests

  • Embryonic development
  • Prenatal Exposure to alcohol
  • Epigenetic modifications and disturbance

The Developmental Epigenetics and Neurodevelopment Lab.

Epigenetic modifications are small chemical groups that can be affixed directly to the genome (DNA), or even to the proteins (histones) involved in the structure and compaction of chromatin. These various modifications provide a means by which a gene can be functionally turned on or off at a specific time during cell development, without altering its DNA sequence. During embryonic development, cells divide and develop according to their own program, a program dictated by a profound reorganization of epigenetic modifications. We believe that any impediment occurring during the establishment of this embryonic epigenetic program may accentuate the vulnerability to unfold various developmental and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Serge McGraw’s research program is focused on studying epigenetic dysregulation in early embryonic development leading to developmental and neurodevelopmental disorders. Specifically, his research is divided into three main areas:

  1. Mechanisms of hereditary epigenetic deregulation in early embryonic development.
  2. Implication of early embryonic epigenetic dysregulation associated with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
  3. Implication of DNMT3A mutations on development and cell specification associated with Tatton-Brown-Rahman syndrome (TBRS).

Through neurotoxic environmental factors and genetic manipulations, these models will provide normal and perturbed epigenetic contexts to finely dissect the epigenetic dysregulation mechanisms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Serge McGraw’s research will significantly deepen our understanding of how early embryonic epigenetic dysregulations of specific brain-related programs may lead to adverse outcomes in children. Understanding the nature of epigenetic dysregulation throughout brain development is crucial if we hope to someday design potent and selective epigenetic treatments for brain disorders.

Members of the laboratory

Diego Arturo Camacho Hernandez
MSc student

Fannie Filion-Bienvenue
MSc student

Josianne Clavel
MSc student

Michelle Robb
MSc student

Elizabeth Elder, MSc
PhD student

Lisa-Marie Legault, MSc
PhD student

Karine Doiron, PhD

Thomas Dupas PhD

Anthony Lemieux
Research assistant in bioinformatics