Current Grantees

Postdoctoral Fellowships:

Predoctoral Fellowships:

Undergraduate Summer Research Grants:

Nathan Bliss | Baylor College of Medicine
Mentor: Hsiao-Tuan Chao, MD, PhD
A class of genes called teneurins has been shown to play a role in neuron development and neurodevelopmental disorders.  Nathan and Dr. Chao will isolate the function of this gene in a fruit fly to determine its influence on cognitive behaviors and brain function.  This will allow for better understanding on the role of this gene in autism spectrum disorder.

Kristen Enriquez | Yale University
Mentor: Ellen Hoffman, PhD
TBR1 is an autism risk gene on chromosome 2 that has only recently been identified.  It is critical for proper wiring of brain regions associated with autism like the amygdala and the cortex.  Using CRISPR technology, Kristen and Dr. Hoffman will use zebrafish to manipulate the expression of this gene in about 100 fish at a time, so that the role of the gene on both brain circuitry and behavior can be better understood.  Zebrafish are an efficient model to screen for potential pharmaceutical interventions.

Emma McQueen | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mentor: Clare Harrop, PhD
Up to 50% of people with autism show symptoms of ADHD and individuals with both diagnoses require specialized interventions.  However, not enough is known about the brain functioning of people with ASD and ADHD. Emma and Dr. Harrop will use advanced techniques to study brain activity during behavioral tasks to test the ability to switch between tasks.  The goal of this project is to develop better biomarkers of these co-occurring conditions which will lead to better diagnoses of the disorders together and separately.

Nicholas Page | University of California, Los Angeles
Mentor: Daniel Geschwind, MD, PhD & Michael Gandal, MD, PhD
One of the many environmental exposures associated with an increased risk of autism is maternal immune infection during pregnancy.  Early research in animal models suggests that this exposure influences gene expression differently in males and females. Under the direction of Drs. Gandal and Geschwind, Nicolas will examine the patterns of gene expression following maternal infection and identify genes that are normally expressed together in both male and female offspring.  This will help explain the sex difference in diagnosis of ASD and identify specific genetic changes that lead to different genetic signals.