Elizabeth A Thomas

picture of Elizabeth A Thomas

Researcher, Epidemiology
Public Health

Ph.D., UC Irvine, 1994, Pharmacology
B.A., UC Berkeley, 1989, Biochemistry

Email: e.thomas@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
1373 Social Ecology 2
Mail Code: 3957
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Biomarkers, epigenetics, psychiatric disorders, neurodegenerative conditions
Research Abstract
My current research program seeks to identify and characterize biochemical, molecular and epigenetic biomarkers in human populations with neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder. These studies utilize a variety of human biospecimens, including post-mortem brain tissue, whole blood, saliva and serum, with techniques ranging from immunoassays to DNA methylation studies. Areas of focus include DNA methylation, oxidative stress, inflammation and neurotrophic factors. Overall, the goals of my discovery and translational research studies are to improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of patients with these devastating disorders.
(Past 5 years):
Corey-Bloom, J., Fischer, R.S., Kim, A., Snell, C., Parkin, G.M., Granger, D.A., Granger, S.W. Thomas, E.A. Levels of interleukin-6 in saliva, but not plasma, correlate with clinical metrics in Huntington’s disease patients and healthy control subjects. International Journal of Molecular Science, 21(17):6363 (2020).
Corey-Bloom, J., Haque, A., Aboufadel, S., Snell, C., Fischer, R., Granger, S.W., Granger, D.A. Thomas, E.A. Uric acid as a potential peripheral biomarker for disease features in Huntington’s patients. Frontiers in Neuroscience 14:73 (2020).
Gutierrez, A. Corey-Bloom, J., Desplats, P., Thomas, E.A.. Evaluation of biochemical and epigenetic measures of peripheral brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) as a biomarker in Huntington’s disease patients. Frontiers in Mol. Neurosci. 12:335 (2020).
Ekholm-Reed, S. Baker, R.W., Campos, A.R., Stouffer, D., Henze1, M., Wolf, D.A., Loring, J.F. Thomas, E.A., Reed, S.I. Reducing Mcl-1 gene dosage induces dopaminergic neuronal loss and motor impairments in Park2 knockout mice. Communications Biology, 2:125 (2019).
Corey-Bloom, J., Haque, A.S., Park, S., Nathan, A.S., Baker, R.W., Thomas, E.A. Salivary levels of total huntingtin are elevated in Huntington's disease patients. Sci Rep. 8:7371 (2018).
Thomas, E.A., D’Mello, S. Complex neuroprotective and neurotoxic effects of histone deacetylases. J. Neurochem. 145:96-110 (2018).
Dean, B., Gibbons, A., Gogos, A., Udawela, M., Thomas, E.A. and Scarr, E. Studies on prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 1: Lower levels in schizophrenia and after treatment with antipsychotic drugs in conjunction with aspirin. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 21:216-225 (2018).
Corey-Bloom, J., Aikin, A.M., Gutierrez A., Salam, J., Howell, T., Thomas, E.A. Beneficial effects of glatiramer acetate in Huntington's disease mouse models: evidence for BDNF-elevating and immunomodulatory mechanisms. Brain Research, 1673:102-110 (2017).
Crosslee, A. S., Titus, L. S., Yusuff, T., Cassar, M., Thomas, E.A., Kretzhchmar, D., and D'Mello, S. Reduced expression of Foxp1 as a contributing factor in Huntington's disease. J. Neurosci, 37:6575-6587 (2017).
Thomas, E.A. Histone Posttranslational Modifications in Schizophrenia. Adv Exp Med Biol., 978:237-254 (2017).
Udawela, M., Scarr, E., Boer, S., Um, J. Y., Hannan, A.J., McOmish, C., Felder, C. C., Thomas, E.A., Dean, B. Isoform 1 specific differences in phospholipase C beta expression in the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia and suicide. NPJ Schizophrenia, 2017 3:19 (2017).
Scarr, E., Udawela, M., Thomas, E.A., Dean, B. Changed gene expression in subjects with schizophrenia and low cortical muscarinic M1 receptors predicts disrupted upstream pathways interacting with that receptor. Molecular Psychiatry, Online Nov 1 2016; 23:295-303 (2018).
Jia H, Wang Y, Morris CD, Jacques V, Gottesfeld JM, Rusche JR, Thomas E.A. The Effects of Pharmacological Inhibition of Histone Deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) in Huntington's Disease Mice. PLoS One. 11:e0152498 (2016).
Scarr, E., Udawela, M., Greenough, M., Neo, J., Seo M., Money, T., Upadhyay, A., Bush, A., Everall, I., Thomas, E.A., Dean, B. Increased cortical expression of the zinc transporter SLC39A12 suggests a breakdown in zinc cellular homeostasis as part of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. NJP Schizophrenia, 2:16002 (2016).
Thomas, E.A. DNA Methylation in Huntington's Disease: Implications for Transgenerational Effects. Neurosci. Lett. 625:34-9 (2016).
Mirendil, H., Thomas, E.A., De Leora, C., Okada, K., Inomata, Y., Chun, J. LPA signaling initiates schizophrenia-like brain and behavioral changes in a mouse model of prenatal brain hemorrhage. Translational Psychiatry, 5: e541 (2015).
Jia, H., Morris, C.D., Williams, R., Loring, J.F., Thomas, E.A. Histone deacetylase inhibition imparts beneficial transgenerational epigenetic effects in Huntington’s disease transgenic mice via alterations in DNA and histone methylation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 112:E56-64 (2015).
Other Experience
Associate Professor, Adjunct
The Scripps Research Institute

Research Center
Interdisciplinary Institute of Salivary Bioscience Research
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