Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit

The mission of PNGU is to identify and characterize the genetic basis of psychiatric, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental disorders and to translate these discoveries to improvements in clinical care and public health.

NAME Shaunna Berkovtich, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit
Center for Human Genetic Research
Massachusetts General Hospital
Richard B. Simches Research Center
185 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-643-6712
Email: sberkovitch@partners.org

 

Shaunna Berkovitch is a postdoctoral fellow in the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is also affiliated with the Chemical Biology Program at the Broad Institute.

Dr. Berkovitch is interested in the biochemical and cellular processes underlying schizophrenia. Working with Dr. Rakesh Karmacharya, she is generating neuronal cells from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. Using patient-derived neurons as a platform, her goal is to employ image-based and biochemical techniques to identify cellular phenotypes associated with schizophrenia, with a particular focus on the role of telomere dynamics in disease process. Chemical perturbation of telomere maintenance and other cellular processes, through utilization of small molecule libraries, will be used with the intention of providing mechanistic insight into schizophrenia biology.

Dr. Berkovitch received her B.S. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. For her graduate studies, she investigated novel oligonucleotide inhibition strategies for human telomerase under the mentorship of Dr. Gregory Verdine.

Publications:

Gude, L., Berkovitch, S.S., Santos, W. L., Kutchukian, P. S., Pawloski, A.R., Kuimelis, R., McGall, G., & Verdine, G. L.(2012) "Mapping Targetable Sites on the Human Telomerase RNA Pseudoknot/Template Domain Using 2’-OMe RNA-interactive Polynucleotide (RIPtide) Microarrays", J. Biol. Chem., 287, 18843-1885.

Berkovitch, S. S., Gude, L., Kutchukian, P. S., & Verdine, G. L. "A 2’-OMethyl 8mer Oligonucleotide Inhibits Human Telomerase via Two Novel and Distinct Mechanisms". In preparation.