Jessica Hoffman, Ph.D., joined LNG as an IRTA Fellow in 2014. She collaborates with Dr. Peter Schmidt (NIMH) to examine molecular and genetic differences in sex steroid hormone response in women with hormone-related mood disorders such as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Perimenopausal Depression (PMD), and Postpartum Depression (PMD). Using lymphoblast cell cultures from women in a hormone suppression and add-back clinical trial, whole transcriptome (RNA-seq) and protein analysis identified the ESC/E(Z) complex, responsible for gene silencing, as differentially expressed at baseline and following hormone exposure in women with PMDD. NGS on exomes and ChIP-seq is being conducted to further understand the basis of this expression difference. Additionally, Dr. Hoffman is developing a protocol for differentiation of human iPSCs into serotonergic neurons to study how these genetic differences may play a functional role in neural signaling and behavior.