Carl Ernst, PhD, was a fellow at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital in the Center for Human Genetic Research, where he studied stem cells and genetics. In September 2011, he joined the McGill Group for Suicide Studies at the Douglas Institute.
The goal of his work is to study human behaviour and mood by identifying genes that may be involved in mental disorders. For this work, he produces cellular models based on the functions of specific genes, then screens at-risk populations for genetic mutations, deriving stem cells from their tissue. He then assesses functions in neurons derived from these subjects’ stem cells.
The way he assesses mutated genes includes both molecular and morphological techniques. Molecular techniques encompass alterations in biochemical processes and gene expression patterns, while morphological techniques refer to cell structure analyses and cell connectivity assays.