Christopher Mason, Ph.D.

Professor of Physiology and Biophysics

  • Director, WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction and WorldQuant Foundation Research Scholar
  • Professor of Computational Genomics in Computational Biomedicine in the Institute for Computational Biomedicine
  • Professor of Neuroscience in the Brain and Mind Institute (secondary appointment)


1305 York Avenue, Room Y-13.15
New York, NY 10021


Research Areas

Research Summary:

We utilize computational and experimental methodologies to identify and characterize the essential genetic elements that guide the function of the human genome, with a particular emphasis on the elements that orchestrate the development of the human brain. Our lab creates detailed cell-specific molecular maps of genetic, epigenetic, transcriptional, and translational activity, creating a draft of the molecular recipe for the creation of the brain. We also develop methods to detect, catalog and functionally annotate variants in the genetic pathways that control developmental processes and how they are perturbed to create disease. We aim to understand of the functional elements of the human genome well enough to enable, eventually, the ability to repair, re-engineer, or fortify these genetic networks within human cells.

Recent Publications:

  1. Al-Turki, TM, Maranon, DG, Nelson, CB, Lewis, AM, Luxton, JJ, Taylor, LE et al.. Telomeric RNA (TERRA) increases in response to spaceflight and high-altitude climbing. Commun Biol. 2024;7 (1):698. doi: 10.1038/s42003-024-06014-x. PubMed PMID:38862827 PubMed Central PMC11167063.
  2. Cope, H, Elsborg, J, Demharter, S, McDonald, JT, Wernecke, C, Parthasarathy, H et al.. Transcriptomics analysis reveals molecular alterations underpinning spaceflight dermatology. Commun Med (Lond). 2024;4 (1):106. doi: 10.1038/s43856-024-00532-9. PubMed PMID:38862781 PubMed Central PMC11166967.
  3. Mathyk, BA, Tabetah, M, Karim, R, Zaksas, V, Kim, J, Anu, RI et al.. Spaceflight induces changes in gene expression profiles linked to insulin and estrogen. Commun Biol. 2024;7 (1):692. doi: 10.1038/s42003-023-05213-2. PubMed PMID:38862620 PubMed Central PMC11166981.
  4. Tierney, BT, Kim, J, Overbey, EG, Ryon, KA, Foox, J, Sierra, MA et al.. Longitudinal multi-omics analysis of host microbiome architecture and immune responses during short-term spaceflight. Nat Microbiol. 2024; :. doi: 10.1038/s41564-024-01635-8. PubMed PMID:38862604 .
  5. Camera, A, Tabetah, M, Castañeda, V, Kim, J, Galsinh, AS, Haro-Vinueza, A et al.. Aging and putative frailty biomarkers are altered by spaceflight. Sci Rep. 2024;14 (1):13098. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-57948-5. PubMed PMID:38862573 PubMed Central PMC11166946.
  6. Borg, J, Loy, C, Kim, J, Buhagiar, A, Chin, C, Damle, N et al.. Spatiotemporal expression and control of haemoglobin in space. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4927. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-49289-8. PubMed PMID:38862545 PubMed Central PMC11166948.
  7. McDonald, JT, Kim, J, Farmerie, L, Johnson, ML, Trovao, NS, Arif, S et al.. Space radiation damage rescued by inhibition of key spaceflight associated miRNAs. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4825. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-48920-y. PubMed PMID:38862542 PubMed Central PMC11166944.
  8. Kim, J, Tierney, BT, Overbey, EG, Dantas, E, Fuentealba, M, Park, J et al.. Single-cell multi-ome and immune profiles of the Inspiration4 crew reveal conserved, cell-type, and sex-specific responses to spaceflight. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4954. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-49211-2. PubMed PMID:38862516 PubMed Central PMC11166952.
  9. Overbey, EG, Ryon, K, Kim, J, Tierney, BT, Klotz, R, Ortiz, V et al.. Collection of biospecimens from the inspiration4 mission establishes the standards for the space omics and medical atlas (SOMA). Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4964. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-48806-z. PubMed PMID:38862509 PubMed Central PMC11166662.
  10. Rutter, LA, Cope, H, MacKay, MJ, Herranz, R, Das, S, Ponomarev, SA et al.. Astronaut omics and the impact of space on the human body at scale. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4952. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-47237-0. PubMed PMID:38862505 PubMed Central PMC11166943.
  11. Grigorev, K, Nelson, TM, Overbey, EG, Houerbi, N, Kim, J, Najjar, D et al.. Direct RNA sequencing of astronaut blood reveals spaceflight-associated m6A increases and hematopoietic transcriptional responses. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4950. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-48929-3. PubMed PMID:38862496 PubMed Central PMC11166648.
  12. Park, J, Overbey, EG, Narayanan, SA, Kim, J, Tierney, BT, Damle, N et al.. Spatial multi-omics of human skin reveals KRAS and inflammatory responses to spaceflight. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4773. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-48625-2. PubMed PMID:38862494 PubMed Central PMC11166909.
  13. Wu, F, Du, H, Overbey, E, Kim, J, Makhijani, P, Martin, N et al.. Single-cell analysis identifies conserved features of immune dysfunction in simulated microgravity and spaceflight. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4795. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-42013-y. PubMed PMID:38862487 PubMed Central PMC11166937.
  14. Siew, K, Nestler, KA, Nelson, C, D'Ambrosio, V, Zhong, C, Li, Z et al.. Cosmic kidney disease: an integrated pan-omic, physiological and morphological study into spaceflight-induced renal dysfunction. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4923. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-49212-1. PubMed PMID:38862484 PubMed Central PMC11167060.
  15. Seylani, A, Galsinh, AS, Tasoula, A, I, AR, Camera, A, Calleja-Agius, J et al.. Ethical considerations for the age of non-governmental space exploration. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4774. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-44357-x. PubMed PMID:38862473 PubMed Central PMC11166968.
  16. Houerbi, N, Kim, J, Overbey, EG, Batra, R, Schweickart, A, Patras, L et al.. Secretome profiling reveals acute changes in oxidative stress, brain homeostasis, and coagulation following short-duration spaceflight. Nat Commun. 2024;15 (1):4862. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-48841-w. PubMed PMID:38862464 PubMed Central PMC11166969.
  17. Overbey, EG, Kim, J, Tierney, BT, Park, J, Houerbi, N, Lucaci, AG et al.. The Space Omics and Medical Atlas (SOMA) and international astronaut biobank. Nature. 2024; :. doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07639-y. PubMed PMID:38862028 .
  18. Mason, CE, Green, J, Adamopoulos, KI, Afshin, EE, Baechle, JJ, Basner, M et al.. A Second Space Age Spanning Omics, Platforms, and Medicine Across Orbits. Nature. 2024; :. doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07586-8. PubMed PMID:38862027 .
  19. Tsujimoto, M, Dewi, DAPR, Mason, CE, Shiwa, Y, Suzuki, H. Shotgun metagenomic sequencing of swab samples from Japanese university campuses. Microbiol Resour Announc. 2024; :e0021024. doi: 10.1128/mra.00210-24. PubMed PMID:38837350 .
  20. Chander, AM, de Melo Teixeira, M, Singh, NK, Williams, MP, Parker, CW, Leo, P et al.. Genomic and morphological characterization of Knufia obscura isolated from the Mars 2020 spacecraft assembly facility. Sci Rep. 2024;14 (1):12249. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-61115-1. PubMed PMID:38806503 PubMed Central PMC11133487.
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