Novel Methods to Understand the Function of Autism Risk Gene PTCHD1

Recent research has implicated the gene PTCHD1 on the X chromosome as contributing to the causes of autism and intellectual disability, but there is still very little known about what it does and how it leads to changes in the brain. This project will be the first-ever attempt to determine the function of the PTCHD1 protein in its natural biological setting. Cells will be manipulated to create mutations in PTCHD1, then turned into neurons, and then the proteins that are expressed will be measured. Finally, the fellow will measure how these proteins interact in the brain. This will enhance our understanding of how this gene interacts with the rest of the brain and expand the range of therapeutic approaches intended to target specific types of dysfunction in people with autism.


Stephen Pastore

John Vincent