Epigenetics Podcast podcast

Epigenetic Underpinnings of Human Addiction (Francesca Telese & Jessica Zhou)

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In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we talked with Francesca Telese from UC San Diego and Jessica Zhou from Cold Spring Harbour about their work on the molecular underpinnings of human addiction.

Francesca Telese worked on neuronal enhancers and their pivotal role in governing gene activity. She sheds light on her remarkable findings concerning the epigenetic signature of neuronal enhancers that are intricately involved in synaptic plasticity.

Jessica Zhou joined Francesca Telese's lab as a PhD student where she worked on elucidating the effects of chronic cannabis use on memory and behavior in mice. She takes us through the fascinating correlation between THC and gene co-expression networks. Francesca and Jessicathen discuss the utilization of genetically diverse outbred rats in their research, along with the crucial exploration of cell type specificity in gene expression studies. They then delve into the long-term changes that occur in the brain after drug exposure and the profound implications for relapse. Additionally, they touch upon the challenges they face in analyzing single-cell data.


  • Zhou, J. L., de Guglielmo, G., Ho, A. J., Kallupi, M., Pokhrel, N., Li, H. R., Chitre, A. S., Munro, D., Mohammadi, P., Carrette, L. L. G., George, O., Palmer, A. A., McVicker, G., & Telese, F. (2023). Single-nucleus genomics in outbred rats with divergent cocaine addiction-like behaviors reveals changes in amygdala GABAergic inhibition. Nature neuroscience, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-023-01452-y

  • Wang, J., Telese, F., Tan, Y., Li, W., Jin, C., He, X., Basnet, H., Ma, Q., Merkurjev, D., Zhu, X., Liu, Z., Zhang, J., Ohgi, K., Taylor, H., White, R. R., Tazearslan, C., Suh, Y., Macfarlan, T. S., Pfaff, S. L., & Rosenfeld, M. G. (2015). LSD1n is an H4K20 demethylase regulating memory formation via transcriptional elongation control. Nature neuroscience, 18(9), 1256–1264. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4069


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