Director, NeuroGenomics and Informatics Center
Dr. Cruchaga is the Barbara Burton & Reuben Morriss III Professor of Psychiatry with joint appointments at Genetics, and Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine.
Dr. Cruchaga is a human genomicist with expertise in multiomics, informatics, and neurodegeneration. He completed his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2005 at the University of Navarra in Spain. During his first postdoc with Dr. Pastor he conducted statistical human genetics studies focused on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). He then moved to Dr. Goate's Lab to complete his training in quantitative human genomics. Dr. Cruchaga established his laboratory at Washington University in 2011 to study the genetic architecture of neurodegenerative diseases. His interests are focused on using human genomic and other -omic data (proteomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics) to identify and understand the biological processes that lead to AD, PD, frontotemporal dementia, and other neurodegenerative processes. He is the founding director of the NeuroGenomics and Informatics Center at Washington University.
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Niko is a molecular and cellular neurobiologist with a strong interest and background in neurodegenerative disorders. He obtained his PhD in physiology and neuroscience from University of Helsinki, Finland. For his PhD he investigated cellular and molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer disease (AD) by studying the protein-protein interactions of known disease-associated proteins involved in the pathophysiology of AD primarily focusing on microtubule-associated protein tau. He did his first postdoctoral training at the German Center for Neurodegenerative diseases, Munich, Germany, where he studied the molecular mechanisms of transcellular spreading of tau and alpha-synuclein in relation to known disease-specific risk genes in tauopathies and synucleinopathies. Niko joined Dr. Benitez’s lab at NGI, Washington University, for his second postdoctoral training in 2020 where he focused on functional genomics of AD and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Currently, working in the Cruchaga lab, he is utilizing various disease models to functionally characterize novel genes and pathways in AD and PD discovered by genetic studies
Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Biostatistics
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Dr. Sung has worked on several projects dealing with GWAS consortia, imputation of genotypes in various multi-ancestry family studies, analysis of sequence data, and analysis of rare variants using various statistical methods. To decipher the genetic and environmental architecture of cardiovascular disease traits, she worked on establishing the gene-lifestyle interactions working group within CHARGE and created robust infrastructure and analysis pipelines. Through gene-environment (GxE) interactions with six lifestyle factors (including smoking and physical activity) the group identified several loci showing biologic plausibility and clinical relevance for blood pressure and lipid homeostasis (Sung et al., American Journal of Human Genetics, 2018; Bentley et al., Nature Genetics 2019). Dr. Sung joined the NeuroGenomics and Informatics Center in 2020 and has worked on proteomics analysis using SOMAscan data to identify multi-tissue molecular signatures for Alzheimer disease (AD) and individuals with APP, PSEN1, PSEN2, and TREM2 risk variants.