Jesse Gray is an assistant professor in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Genetics and an associate member of the Broad Institute, studying the genomic mechanisms of neuronal activity-regulated transcription and its contributions to neural circuit plasticity. Jesse earned a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. from the University of California-San Francisco, where he worked with Cori Bargmann and discovered oxygen sensing by soluble guanylate cyclases. He co-discovered eRNAs in his postdoctoral fellowship with Mike Greenberg.
The goal of the Gray laboratory is to understand the genomic mechanisms of neuronal activity-regulated transcription and its contributions to neural circuit plasticity. As part of this effort, they are developing a genomic and systems-biological understanding of the activity-regulated gene program. This work includes defining how different patterns of neural activity are translated into different sets of expressed genes and how this “coupling map” is encoded in gene regulatory sequences. In addition, they are investigating the functional consequences of activity-regulated transcription, with a focus on experience-dependent myelination and firing rate homeostasis. This approach has the potential to reveal genomic mechanisms required to store new information in neural circuits, as well as maintain the firing rate stability needed to preserve old information and enable future learning.