Lab Misson

The Ciernia lab aims to understand how epigenetic mechanisms regulate gene expression critical for brain development, cellular function and normal behaviors. Our ultimate goal is to advance our understanding of how these processes are disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders so that we can work towards developing better treatments. Achieving this goal requires the commitment and dedication of all members of the lab, and consequently we are committed to the following core principles:

Research Excellence

This is the goal of every scientist and we seek to produce innovative, high quality, and reproducible research. The Ciernia lab is committed to developing novel questions and supports the ideas and contributions of all members of the lab. Our regular lab meetings are open to all members of the lab and include research presentations and journal article discussions designed to foster creative and productive critiques of our own work and the larger field. Students are expected to work together in groups and independently to lead projects, with the support of the Dr. Vogel Ciernia, through weekly individual meetings. All laboratory work is documented in lab notebooks and analysis code is deposited in the laboratory server and on the lab Github. Open, honest, and creative science is our motto!


Research is hard. It involves a high rate of failure and requires long, often tedious hours in the lab. However, it is also amazing! There is no high like a novel discovery. The Ciernia lab realizes research has its ups and downs, and we seek to provide a supportive environment for students to develop and grow as young scientists. We are committed to mentoring students at every level from undergraduate through graduate school and beyond. Senior lab members also have the opportunity to mentor less experienced students. We value both scientific and professional development and encourage students and postdocs to explore career goals both in and outside of academia.

Communication and Outreach

The Ciernia lab is committed to communicating our science both to our fellow academics and to the general public. We strive to provide open access to our research including posting our pre-publication manuscripts to BioRxiv, publishing in high impact, open access journals and making our analysis code and relevant datasets available on Github. We share our findings with the broader community through social media, Spectrum News, and local events within the DMCBH.