Associate Professor Irina Voineagu
Scientia Fellow (Level D)

Associate Professor Irina Voineagu

School of Biotech & Biomolecular Science

Research Program

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:

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

Honours 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

+612 9385 0114
Room 3107 Level 3, Biological Sciences (E26)
  • Book Chapters | 2014
    Nicholls L; Ramadas R; Voineagu I, 2014, 'From molecular pathways to ASD therapy: Insights from syndromic forms of autism', in Frontiers in Autism Research: New Horizons for Diagnosis and Treatment, pp. 23 - 46,
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Qian L; Sharpe LJ; Gokool A; Voineagu I; Brown AJ, 2023, 'Controlling an E3 ligase and its substrate: A function for MARCHF6 circRNA', Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, vol. 1868,
    Journal articles | 2022
    Dias KR; Carlston CM; Blok LER; De Hayr L; Nawaz U; Evans CA; Bayrak-Toydemir P; Htun S; Zhu Y; Ma A; Lynch SA; Moorwood C; Stals K; Ellard S; Bainbridge MN; Friedman J; Pappas JG; Rabin R; Nowak CB; Douglas J; Wilson TE; Guillen Sacoto MJ; Mullegama SV; Palculict TB; Kirk EP; Pinner JR; Edwards M; Montanari F; Graziano C; Pippucci T; Dingmann B; Glass I; Mefford HC; Shimoji T; Suzuki T; Yamakawa K; Streff H; Schaaf CP; Slavotinek AM; Voineagu I; Carey JC; Buckley MF; Schenck A; Harvey RJ; Roscioli T, 2022, 'De Novo ZMYND8 variants result in an autosomal dominant neurodevelopmental disorder with cardiac malformations', Genetics in Medicine, vol. 24, pp. 1952 - 1966,
    Journal articles | 2022
    Sutton GJ; Poppe D; Simmons RK; Walsh K; Nawaz U; Lister R; Gagnon-Bartsch JA; Voineagu I, 2022, 'Comprehensive evaluation of deconvolution methods for human brain gene expression', Nature Communications, vol. 13, pp. 1358,
    Journal articles | 2022
    Wang J; Weatheritt R; Voineagu I, 2022, 'Alu-minating the Mechanisms Underlying Primate Cortex Evolution', Biological Psychiatry, vol. 92, pp. 760 - 771,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Griesi-Oliveira K; Fogo MS; Pinto BGG; Alves AY; Suzuki AM; Morales AG; Ezquina S; Sosa OJ; Sutton GJ; Sunaga-Franze DY; Bueno AP; Seabra G; Sardinha L; Costa SS; Rosenberg C; Zachi EC; Sertie AL; Martins-de-Souza D; Reis EM; Voineagu I; Passos-Bueno MR, 2021, 'Transcriptome of iPSC-derived neuronal cells reveals a module of co-expressed genes consistently associated with autism spectrum disorder', Molecular Psychiatry, vol. 26, pp. 1589 - 1605,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Koch FC; Sutton GJ; Voineagu I; Vafaee F, 2021, 'Supervised application of internal validation measures to benchmark dimensionality reduction methods in scRNA-seq data', Briefings in bioinformatics, vol. 22,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Oldham Green N; Maniam J; Riese J; Morris MJ; Voineagu I, 2021, 'Transcriptomic signature of early life stress in male rat prefrontal cortex', Neurobiology of Stress, vol. 14,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Santos-Rodriguez G; Voineagu I; Weatheritt RJ, 2021, 'Evolutionary dynamics of circular RNAs in primates', ,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Santos-Rodriguez G; Voineagu I; Weatheritt RJ, 2021, 'Evolutionary dynamics of circular rnas in primates', eLife, vol. 10,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Walsh K; Gokool A; Alinejad-Rokny H; Voineagu I, 2021, 'NeuroCirc: an integrative resource of circular RNA expression in the human brain', Bioinformatics, vol. 37, pp. 3664 - 3666,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Gokool A; Anwar F; Voineagu I, 2020, 'The Landscape of Circular RNA Expression in the Human Brain', Biological Psychiatry, vol. 87, pp. 294 - 304,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Gokool A; Loy CT; Halliday GM; Voineagu I, 2020, 'Circular RNAs: The Brain Transcriptome Comes Full Circle', Trends in Neurosciences, vol. 43, pp. 752 - 766,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Walsh K; Voineagu MA; Vafaee F; Voineagu I, 2020, 'TDAview: An online visualization tool for topological data analysis', Bioinformatics, vol. 36, pp. 4805 - 4809,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Keidar L; Gerlitz G; Kshirsagar A; Tsoory M; Olender T; Wang X; Yang Y; Chen YS; Yang YG; Voineagu I; Reiner O, 2019, 'Interplay of LIS1 and MeCP2: Interactions and Implications With the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lissencephaly and Rett Syndrome', Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, vol. 13, pp. 370,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Gokoolparsadh A; Fang Z; Braidy N; Lin P; Pardy CJ; Eapen V; Clarke R; Voineagu I, 2017, 'Transcriptional response to mitochondrial protease IMMP2L knockdown in human primary astrocytes', Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, vol. 482, pp. 1252 - 1258,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Gokoolparsadh A; Fang Z; Braidy N; Voineagu I, 2017, 'Topoisomerase I inhibition leads to length-dependent gene expression changes in human primary astrocytes', Genomics Data, vol. 11, pp. 113 - 115,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Gokoolparsadh A; Sutton GJ; Charamko A; Green NFO; Pardy CJ; Voineagu I, 2016, 'Searching for convergent pathways in autism spectrum disorders: insights from human brain transcriptome studies', Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, vol. 73, pp. 4517 - 4530,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Lin P; Nicholls L; Assareh H; Fang Z; Amos TG; Edwards RJ; Assareh AA; Voineagu I, 2016, 'Transcriptome analysis of human brain tissue identifies reduced expression of complement complex C1Q Genes in Rett syndrome', BMC Genomics, vol. 17, pp. 1 - 11,
    Journal articles | 2016
    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, 2016, 'Chromosome conformation elucidates regulatory relationships in developing human brain', Nature, vol. 538, pp. 523 - 527,
    Journal articles | 2015
    Pu Yao ; Peijie Lin ; Akira Gokoolparsadh ; Assareh AA; Mike W C Thang ; Voineagu , 2015, 'Coexpression networks identify brain region–specific enhancer RNAs in the human brain', Nature Neuroscience, vol. 18, pp. 1168 - 1174,
    Journal articles | 2014
    Fort A; Hashimoto K; Yamada D; Salimullah M; Keya CA; Saxena A; Bonetti A; Voineagu I; Bertin N; Kratz A; Noro Y; Wong CH; De Hoon M; Andersson R; Sandelin A; Suzuki H; Wei CL; Koseki H; Hasegawa Y; Forrest ARR; Carninci P, 2014, 'Deep transcriptome profiling of mammalian stem cells supports a regulatory role for retrotransposons in pluripotency maintenance', Nature Genetics, vol. 46, pp. 558 - 566,
    Journal articles | 2014
    Tian Y; Voineagu I; Paşca SP; Won H; Chandran V; Horvath S; Dolmetsch RE; Geschwind DH, 2014, 'Alteration in basal and depolarization induced transcriptional network in iPSC derived neurons from Timothy syndrome', Genome Medicine, vol. 6,
    Journal articles | 2013
    Miyauchi S; Voineagu I, 2013, 'Autism susceptibility genes and the transcriptional landscape of the human brain', International Review of Neurobiology, vol. 113, pp. 303 - 318,
    Journal articles | 2013
    Voineagu I; Eapen V, 2013, 'Converging pathways in autism spectrum disorders: Interplay between synaptic dysfunction and immune responses', Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,
    Journal articles | 2013
    Voineagu I; Yoo HJ, 2013, 'Current progress and challenges in the search for autism biomarkers', Disease Markers, vol. 35, pp. 55 - 65,
    Journal articles | 2012
    Luo R; Sanders SJ; Tian Y; Voineagu I; Huang N; Chu SH; Klei L; Cai C; Ou J; Lowe JK; Hurles ME; Devlin B; State MW; Geschwind DH, 2012, 'Genome-wide transcriptome profiling reveals the functional impact of rare de novo and recurrent CNVs in autism spectrum disorders', American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 91, pp. 38 - 55,
    Journal articles | 2012
    Shah KA; Shishkin AA; Voineagu I; Pavlov YI; Shcherbakova PV; Mirkin SM, 2012, 'Role of DNA Polymerases in Repeat-Mediated Genome Instability', Cell Reports, vol. 2, pp. 1088 - 1095,
    Journal articles | 2012
    Voineagu I, 2012, 'Autism: From genetics to biomarkers', Disease Markers, vol. 33, pp. 223 - 224,
    Journal articles | 2012
    Voineagu I, 2012, 'Gene expression studies in autism: Moving from the genome to the transcriptome and beyond', Neurobiology of Disease, vol. 45, pp. 69 - 75,
    Journal articles | 2012
    Voineagu I; Huang L; Winden K; Lazaro M; Haan E; Nelson J; McGaughran J; Nguyen LS; Friend K; Hackett A; Field M; Gecz J; Geschwind D, 2012, 'CCDC22: A novel candidate gene for syndromic X-linked intellectual disability', Molecular Psychiatry, vol. 17, pp. 4 - 7,
    Journal articles | 2011
    Paşca SP; Portmann T; Voineagu I; Yazawa M; Shcheglovitov A; Paşca AM; Cord B; Palmer TD; Chikahisa S; Nishino S; Bernstein JA; Hallmayer J; Geschwind DH; Dolmetsch RE, 2011, 'Using iPSC-derived neurons to uncover cellular phenotypes associated with Timothy syndrome', Nature Medicine, vol. 17, pp. 1657 - 1662,
    Journal articles | 2011
    Voineagu I; Wang X; Johnston P; Lowe JK; Tian Y; Horvath S; Mill J; Cantor RM; Blencowe BJ; Geschwind DH, 2011, 'Transcriptomic analysis of autistic brain reveals convergent molecular pathology', Nature, vol. 474, pp. 380 - 386,
    Journal articles | 2009
    Shishkin AA; Voineagu I; Matera R; Cherng N; Chernet BT; Krasilnikova MM; Narayanan V; Lobachev KS; Mirkin SM, 2009, 'Large-Scale Expansions of Friedreich's Ataxia GAA Repeats in Yeast', Molecular Cell, vol. 35, pp. 82 - 92,
    Journal articles | 2009
    Voineagu I; Freudenreich CH; Mirkin SM, 2009, 'Checkpoint responses to unusual structures formed by DNA repeats', Molecular Carcinogenesis, vol. 48, pp. 309 - 318,
    Journal articles | 2009
    Voineagu I; Surka CF; Shishkin AA; Krasilnikova MM; Mirkin SM, 2009, 'Replisome stalling and stabilization at CGG repeats, which are responsible for chromosomal fragility', Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, vol. 16, pp. 226 - 228,
    Journal articles | 2008
    Voineagu I; Narayanan V; Lobachev KS; Mirkin SM, 2008, 'Replication stalling at unstable inverted repeats: Interplay between DNA hairpins and fork stabilizing proteins', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 105, pp. 9936 - 9941,
    Journal articles | 2007
    Voineagu I; Lobachev K; Mirkin S, 2007, '67 REPLICATION OF DNA PALINDROMES AND CHROMOSOMAL INSTABILITY.', Journal of Investigative Medicine, vol. 55, pp. S359.4 - S359,
  • Working Papers | 2019
    Voineagu M; Voineagu I; Shnier D, 2019, Persistent homology analysis of gene expression data in autism,
  • Preprints | 2020
    Koch F; Sutton G; Voineagu I; Vafaee F, 2020, Supervised Application of Internal Validation Measures to Benchmark Dimensionality Reduction Methods in scRNA-seq Data,
    Preprints | 2020
    Sutton GJ; Poppe D; Simmons RK; Walsh K; Nawaz U; Lister R; Gagnon-Bartsch JA; Voineagu I, 2020, Comprehensive evaluation of deconvolution methods for human brain gene expression,
    Preprints | 2018
    Gokoolparsadh A; Anwar F; Voineagu I, 2018, The Landscape Of Circular RNA Expression In The Human Brain,
    Conference Papers | 2010
    Voineagu I; Gao F; Horvath S; Geschwind D, 2010, 'Identification of shared molecular pathways involved in autism by brain transcriptome profiling', in INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE, PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, PORTUGAL, Estoril, pp. 706 - 706, presented at 18th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Developmental-Neuroscience, PORTUGAL, Estoril, 06 June 2010 - 09 June 2010,
    Conference Papers | 2007
    Voineagu I; Lobachev K; Mirkin S, 2007, 'Replication of DNA palindromes and chromosomal instability.', in JOURNAL OF INVESTIGATIVE MEDICINE, B C DECKER INC, IL, Chicago, pp. S359 - S359, presented at Combined Annual Meeting of the Central-Society-for-Clinical-Research/Miswestern Section of the American-Federation-for-Medical-Research, IL, Chicago, 12 April 2007 - 13 April 2007,