Date of Award

Spring 6-20-2022

Document Type

Thesis (Ph.D.)

Department or Program

Integrative Neuroscience

First Advisor

Richard Granger


This dissertation is composed of three chapters that address two distinct topics. Chapter 2 addresses the use of consonantal context in vowel perception. Previous studies have demonstrated that context is important for vowel identification, however, this effect may be an artifact of stimuli production. To address this potential confound, we used stimuli extracted from an audiobook and asked subjects to identify vowels encased in consonants and isolated by themselves. We show that subjects had improved vowel identification when the vowel is presented with a consonantal framing, suggesting there is information contained in the surrounding context that is important for phoneme perception.

Chapter 3 investigates the genetic patterns amongst schizophrenic patients in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Despite decades of research searching for the genetic contributors to schizophrenia, progress has often exhibited inconsistency and lack of replicability. We used four different genetic sequence datasets that spanned multiple sequencing libraries and methods. We provide evidence for at least three distinct groups of schizophrenics, one of which expresses increased levels of neuroinflammation. This work suggests a potential basis for individualized treatments for each schizophrenic subtype and encourages patient stratification for future research studies.

Chapter 4 begins exploring the gene expression differences between the schizophrenic subtypes across different brain regions. Through initial investigation of the CAUD and HIPPO, we’ve confirmed the existence of additional neuroinflammation in to Type 2 schizophrenics. We also provide potential areas where the Type 1 and Mix subtypes may have abnormal expression and provide speculation on how the gene expression of these groups connects to the current literature. These could lay the foundation for additional research into the extent of heterogeneity of schizophrenia and identification of specific biomarkers for each schizophrenic subtype.

Original Citation

Childers, E.; Bowen, E.F.W.; Rhodes, C.H.; Granger, R. Immune-Related Genomic Schizophrenic Subtyping Identified in DLPFC Transcriptome. Genes 2022, 13, 1200.