Irina Voineagu

Associate Professor

Professional Experience

2019-current: Associate Professor, School of BABS

2013-2018: Senior Lecturer, School of BABS
2001-2012: Research Scientist, RIKEN OmicsScience Center, Japan
2008-2011: Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept of Neurogenetics, University of California, LA

2003-2008: Ph.D Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics University of Illinois at Chicago

Research Interests and Contribution

Broadly, my research interests are in the area of molecular genetic mechanisms underlying human brain disorders. My PhD work demonstrated that unstable DNA repeats block replication fork progression in bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells by forming DNA-hairpins on the lagging strand (Voineagu et al. PNAS 2008), and investigated for the first time the cellular checkpoint responses to replication fork arrest at CGG repeats. This work led to a novel model of chromosomal fragility at CGG repeat sequences (Voineagu et al. Nature Struct. Mol. Biol 2009). For postdoctoral research, I joined the Neurogenetics Department at UCLA, to investigate the molecular mechanisms of autism and intellectual disability, using transcriptome methods.  My postdoctoral work led to the identification of a novel gene implicated in X-linked intellectual disability (Voineagu et al., Mol. Psychiatry 2011) and the characterisation of shared molecular pathways in autism post-mortem brain tissue (Voineagu et al. Nature 2011).Currently, my group's research concentrates on the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying normal brain function and their perturbation in neurodevelopmental disorders, using a combination of functional genomic studies in human brain tissue and neuronal cell culture systems. For more details, please see:

Honors and Awards

  • Australian Academy of Science, Gani Medal for research in human genetics 2018.
  • UNSW Scientia Fellowship 2017.
  • Lorne Genome Women in Science Award 2017.
  • Biological Psychiatry Australia Aubrey Lewis Award 2015.
  • ARC Development Early Career Award, 2013
  • Simons Foundation, 10 best papers in autism research of 2015, for Yao et al. Nature Neuroscience 2015.
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 2012.
  • Autism Speaks’ 10 best papers in autism research papers in 2011, for Voineagu et al. Nature 2011 and Pasca et al. Nature Medicine 2011

Selected publications:

Chromosome conformation elucidates regulatory relationships in developing human brain.

Won H, de la Torre-Ubieta L, Stein JL, Parikshak NN, Huang J, Opland CK, Gandal MJ, Sutton GJ, Hormozdiari F, Lu D, Lee C, Eskin E, Voineagu I, Ernst J, Geschwind DH.

Nature. 2016 Oct 27;538(7626):523-527. doi: 10.1038/nature19847. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

Coexpression networks identify brain region-specific enhancer RNAs in the human brain.

Yao P, Lin P, Gokoolparsadh A, Assareh A, Thang MW, Voineagu I.

Nat Neurosci. 2015 Aug;18(8):1168-74. doi: 10.1038/nn.4063. Epub 2015 Jul 13.

CCDC22: a novel candidate gene for syndromic X-linked intellectual disability.

Voineagu I, Huang L, Winden K, Lazaro M, Haan E, Nelson J, McGaughran J, Nguyen L, Friend K, Hackett A, Field M, Gecz J, Geschwind DH

Mol Psychiatry. 2012 Jan;17(1):4-7. doi: 10.1038/mp.2011.95. Epub 2011 Aug 9. No abstract available.

Transcriptomic analysis of autistic brain reveals convergent molecular pathology.

Voineagu I, Wang X, Johnston P, Lowe JK, Tian Y, Horvath S, Mill J, Cantor RM, Blencowe BJ, Geschwind DH.

Nature. 2011 May 25;474(7351):380-4. doi: 10.1038/nature10110.

Replisome stalling and stabilization at CGG repeats, which are responsible for chromosomal fragility.

Voineagu I, Surka CF, Shishkin AA, Krasilnikova MM, Mirkin SM.

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2009 Feb;16(2):226-8. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.1527. Epub 2009 Jan 11.

Replication stalling at unstable inverted repeats: interplay between DNA hairpins and fork stabilizing proteins.

Voineagu I, Narayanan V, Lobachev KS, Mirkin SM.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 22;105(29):9936-41. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0804510105. Epub 2008 Jul 15.