PhD, Neuroscience, UC San Francisco
BA, English, Harvard University
Eirene’s broad interest is the regulation and function of Autism Spectrum Disorder genes during human cortical development. Specifically, she is studying chromatin regulation of ASD gene regulatory elements across development, and the function of chromatin modifying genes that are implicated in ASD. Previously, Eirene worked on the regulation of monoallelic olfactory receptor gene expression (Markenscoff-Papadimitriou et al, 2014).
PhD, Genetics, Yale University
BS, Biology, Duke University
Helen is interested in understanding how ASD-associated genes function during neurodevelopment. Despite the genetic heterogeneity of ASD, several lines of evidence suggest that ASD-associated genes share common molecular underpinnings. To identify these common mechanisms, Helen leverages CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing with the diploid frog model Xenopus tropicalis. Due to the speed of frog development, Helen can rapidly study the loss of function phenotype of many ASD genes in parallel. Specifically, she injects Cas9 protein and a single guide RNA (sgRNA) against an ASD gene at the two-cell embryo stage, generating animals in which exactly half the body (separated by the midline) is mutant, allowing for direct comparison of mutant and control cells in the same animal. Helen uses a variety of techniques to identify ‘convergent phenotypes,’ including RNAseq, in situ hybridization, and immunostaining. In this way, Helen's work is aimed at identifying phenotypes most relevant to ASD pathology to provide a path forward for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying ASD.
PhD, Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkeley
BS, Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
Cameron works to identify points of functional convergence among Autism Spectrum Disorder risk genes during embryonic brain development using the frog Xenopus tropicalis as a model. Her current focus is on how ASD risk genes interface with known regulators of neuronal progenitor cell biology to influence this population’s proliferation and differentiation. The goal of her research is to shed light on the underlying genetic and developmental mechanisms that contribute to the etiology of ASD, and, based on that refined understanding, to inform the design of potential treatments in the future. She also works to answer similar questions about the function of Tourette Disorder risk genes in cell polarity and migration events in the developing brain.