The Shinozaki Laboratory studies the molecular influence of environmental factors such as trauma, stress, and inflammation on individual susceptibility to psychiatric conditions including major depressive disorder (MDD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and delirium using epigenetic/genetic approaches as well as a medical engineering approach through device development and machine learning.

The main focus of the Shinozaki Lab has been to examine epigenetic changes resulting from exposure to stress such as trauma or inflammation to aid in the search for biomarkers of stress exposure and risk for MDD, PTSD, and delirium. Since joining the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa, Dr. Shinozaki , in collaboration with many colleagues across campus, successfully developed several ongoing projects in psychiatric epigenetics/genetics—one in collaboration with the Japanese National Defense Medical College to investigate the influence of stress and MDD on DNA methylation (DNAm), another in collaboration with neurosurgeons at Iowa to study DNAm correlation between brain tissue and peripheral tissues, and another in collaboration with our oral maxillary  surgeons to study influence of high dose glucocorticoid exposure on DNAm. We also examine genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from a very large nationwide cohort of over 10,000 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (the COPD Gene study) to investigate the role of psychiatric conditions in mortality.

From the angle of neuroinflammation, we are investigating the role of epigenetics in inflammatory processes in delirium and aging. In addition to epigenetics investigation, we are developing a novel electroencephalography (EEG) device to screen delirium among elderly patients in the hospital.

Recent Updates

June 12, 2020

Our undergraduate research assistant, Pedro Marra, was featured in the International Program news. Congratulations, Pedro! https://international.uiowa.edu/news/pedro-marra.

June 6, 2020

Our former visiting scholar, Dr. Taku Saito's paper, "The relationship between DNA methylation in neurotrophic genes and age as evidenced from three independent cohorts: Differences by delirium status", was published in the Neurobiology of Aging!

June 1, 2020

Our former visiting scholar, Dr. Taku Saito's paper, "Epigenetics of neuroinflammation: Immune response, inflammatory response and cholinergic synaptic involvement evidenced by genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of delirious inpatients", was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research!

May 12, 2020

Our former visiting scholar, Dr. Taku Saito's paper, "Effect of interaction between a specific subtype of child abuse and the FKBP5rs1360780 SNP on DNA methylation among patients with bipolar disorder", was published in Journal of Affective Disorders.

Congratulations, Taku!

May 1, 2020

Undergraduate lab members Gloria Chang, Eleanor Sullivan, Pedro Marra and Zoe-Ella Anderson were awarded ICRU Fellowships for the summer session.