Margit Burmeister, Ph.D.

Margit Burmeister, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychiatry, Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics and Human Genetics
Research Professor, Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute
Co-Director, Bioinformatics Graduate Program

5061 BSRB
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor
48109 -2200
Research Interests: 

My laboratory's research is aimed at finding genes involved in neurological and psychiatric diseases as well as behavior in general. We use genetic methodologies and have identified specific single gene mutations that cause ataxia, seizures and behavioral abnormalities in mice and humans. Our ataxia research takes a genomic approach, including linkage, homozygosity, next generation sequencing, gene expression and machine learning network analysis. We have identified several ataxia genes and use mouse and zebrafish as models to further verify and analyze the genes and protein products.

In contrast to Mendelian single gene defects, human behavior and risk for psychiatric illnesses such as depression and alcoholism are determined by a complex interaction of environmental and multiple genetic risk factors. We include environmental factors and quantitative differences and development in our analyses, and collaborate extensively with clinicians and biostatisticians. We have show that some genetic effects depend strongly on the environment.

Honors and Awards: 
2010 Michael Weston Professorship, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
2009 Distinguished Professor, Shanghai Bio-X Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.
2008 NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award
2002 and 2004 NARSAD Independent Investigator Award
1999 Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Sabbatical at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany
1992 and 1996 NARSAD Young Investigator Award
1995 Mental Health Research Institute Discovery Award
1995 Klingenstein Fellowship Award in the Neurosciences
1993 March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Starting Investigator Award
1983-87 Dr. rer. nat. = PhD at European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany, with Dr. Hans Lehrach (conferred from Ruprecht- Karls-University Heidelberg)
1981-83 Diplom (Master) work at Weizmann Institute Science, Rehovot, Israel
1977-83 Undergraduate : Free University of Berlin
Selected Publications: 

Villafuerte S, Strumba V, Stoltenberg SF, Zucker RA, Burmeister M.. Impulsiveness mediates the association between GABRA2 SNPs and lifetime alcohol problems. Genes Brain Behav. 2013 Jul;12(5):525-31.

Greenwald MK, Steinmiller CL, Sliwerska E, Lundahl L, Burmeister M. BDNF Val(66)Met genotype is associated with drug-seeking phenotypes in heroin-dependent individuals: a pilot study. Addict Biol. 2013 Sep;18(5):836-45.

Lee YC, Durr A, Majczenko K, Huang YH, Liu YC, Lien CC, Tsai PC, Ichikawa Y, Goto J, Monin ML, Li JZ, Chung MY, Mundwiller E, Shakkottai V, Liu TT, Tesson C, Lu YC, Brice A, Tsuji S, Burmeister M, Stevanin G, Soong BW. Mutations in KCND3 cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 22. Ann Neurol. 2012 Dec;72(6):859-69

Majczenko K, Davidson AE, Camelo-Piragua S, Agrawal PB, Manfready RA, Li X, Joshi S, Xu J, Peng W, Beggs AH, Li JZ, Burmeister M, Dowling JJ. Dominant mutation of CCDC78 in a unique congenital myopathy with prominent internal nuclei and atypical cores. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Aug 10;91(2):365-71

Guan Y, Gorenshteyn D, Burmeister M, Wong AK, Schimenti JC, Handel MA, Bult CJ, Hibbs MA, Troyanskaya OG. Tissue-specific functional networks for prioritizing phenotype and disease genes. PLoS Comput Biol. 2012;8(9):e1002694

Brower KJ, Wojnar M, Sliwerska E, Armitage R, Burmeister M. PER3 polymorphism and insomnia severity in alcohol dependence. Sleep. 2012 Apr 1;35(4):571-7

Villafuerte S, Heitzeg MM, Foley S, Yau WYW, Majczenko K, Zubieta JK, Zucker RA, Burmeister M: Impulsiveness and Insular activation during reward anticipation are associated with genetic variants in GABRA2 in a family sample enriched for alcoholism. Mol Psychiatry. 2012 May;17(5):511-9.

Karg K, Burmeister M, Shedden K, Sen S: The serotonin transporter promoter variant (5-HTTLPR), stress, and depression meta-analysis revisited: Evidence of genetic moderation. Arch Gen Psychiatry 68(5):444-54, 2011.

Schoen C, Emery S, Thorne M, Ammana H, Sliwerska E, Arnett J, Hortsch M, Hannan F, Burmeister M, Lesperance MM: Increased activity of diaphanous 3 (DIAPH3)/diaphanous causes hearing defects in humans with auditory neuropathy and in Drosophila. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107:13396-401, 2010.