Brain-Gene-Development Lab


The Brain-Gene-Development Lab has positions available for a research assistant, data analyst and post-doctoral fellow, as well as additional opportunities for undergraduate and PhD students. Please contact Dr. Alexander-Bloch at

With strong collaborative ties to other groups both locally and globally, the Brain-Gene-Development Laboratory integrates Big Data from publicly available imaging and genomics resources with deep phenotyping of individuals within the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia system. The lab team's goal is to translate the highly polygenic risk for psychosis and other neurovelopmental psychiatric disorders into pathophysiologic mechanisms, to inform therapeutic targets and improve risk assessment.

Project Highlights

  • Transcriptomics informs neuroimaging phenotypes in the UK Biobank
  • Quantitative analysis tests disruption in clinically-acquired brain MRI in genetic syndromes
  • Influence of copy number variants and polygenic risk on brain development and psychiatric risk
  • Statistical framework for comparing maps of human brain structure and function
Publication Highlights
Alexander-Bloch AF, Mathias SR, Fox PT, Olvera RL, Göring HHH, Duggirala R, Curran JE, Blangero J, Glahn DC. Human cortical thickness organized into genetically-determined communities across spatial resolutions. Cerebral Cortex. 2019 Jan 01; 29(1):106-118. PMID 29190330
Alexander-Bloch A, Reiss PT, Rapoport J, McAdams H, Giedd JN, Bullmore ET, Gogtay N. Abnormal cortical growth in schizophrenia targets normative modules of synchronized development. Biological Psychiatry. 2014 Jan 01; 76(6): 438–446 (Cover). PMID: 24690112
Alexander-Bloch A, Giedd J, Bullmore E. Imaging structural co-variance between human brain regions. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 2013 Jan 01; 14(5):322-36. PMID: 23531697
Alexander-Bloch A, Raznahan A, Bullmore E, Giedd J. The convergence of maturational change and structural covariance in human cortical networks. Journal of Neuroscience. 2013 Jan 01; 33(7):2889-2899. PMID 23407947
Alexander-Bloch A, Vértes PE, Stidd R, Lalonde F, Clasen L, Rapoport J, Giedd J, Bullmore ET, Gogtay N. The anatomical distance of functional connections predicts brain network topology in health and schizophrenia. Cerebral Cortex. 2012 Jan 01; 23(1):127-38. PMID: 22275481

Aaron Alexander-Bloch, MD, PhD

Director, Brain-Gene-Development Laboratory
Dr. Alexander-Bloch investigates normal brain development and the altered developmental trajectories that lead to mental illness. His multi-disciplinary research integrates brain imaging, genomics and clinical information.