Medical Scientist Training Program, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
BA Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, TX
BA Mathematics, Rice University, Houston, TX
Human brain development involves a complex coordination of genetic programs that, in combination with environmental inputs, set up neuronal circuits that enable normal human cognitive and behavioral functions. In some individuals, due to either genetic or environmental effects, these developmental programs can be perturbed and result in abnormal brain development leading to neuropsychiatric disorders. I am applying high-throughput RNA sequencing of post-mortem tissue to measure how expression levels of genes change during normal human brain development and how these expression programs are perturbed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Starting from the expression levels of genes, we add information about genetic and epigenetic changes to construct models of what occurs in ASD brain at a molecular, cellular, and circuit level. Although ASD is a highly heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder, we aim to identify commonly disrupted programs and their molecular drivers that can help us better understand and treat deficits in ASD.
Joined the lab: