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Investigators & Projects

Listed in alphabetical order

Anton, Eva, PhD

Associate Professor, Cell & Molecular Physiology

Research Interests

Cerebral cortical development, Biological basis of neurodevelopmental disorders

Projects

Radial Glial Development and Differentiation

Belger, Aysenil, PhD

Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

Electrophysiological abnormalities in young autistic children and individuals at high risk for schizophrenia, functional magnetic resonance imaging

Projects

Stress Regulation, Working memory and Cognitive Disorganization in Adolescence

Carney, Paul, MD

Professor, Neurology

Research Interests

Projects

Preclinical Investigation of Cannabidavarin (CBDV) For ASD Brain Connectivity and Behavior in the rat VPA model of general autism

Cohen, Jessica, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience

Research Interests

Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Development, Developmental Disorders, ADHD, Neuroimaging, Functional Connectivity, Graph Theory

Projects

Large-scale brain organization during cognitive control in ADHD

Daniels, Julie, PhD

Professor, Epidemiology

Research Interests

Prenatal events and exposures that might lead to autism or developmental disability

Projects

NC CADDRE: Study to Explore Early Development (SEED) Phase III

Deshmukh, Mohanish, PhD

Professor, Department of Cell Biology & Physiology

Research Interests

Neuronal survival and death pathways

Projects

Mechanism by which Human ES Cells Prime Bax at the Golgi for Rapid Apoptosis
Establishing Apoptotic Thresholds: Insights from Neurons and Stem Cells to Cancer

Dichter, Gabriel, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

1) fMRI and psychophysiology of reward processing in autism spectrum disorders; 2) fMRI and psychophysiology of treatment response in autism spectrum disorders; 3) Reward processing in individuals with current and past unipolar depression and risk for future depressive episodes

Projects

Carolina SPARK: Carolina Site for the SFARI National Autism Cohort
Services to Enhance Social Functioning in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Development of A Novel Transdiagnostic Intervention for Anhedonia
A Simultaneous PET/MR Study of Striatal Dopamine Binding in Autism
Inflammation as a Candidate Mediator of Anhedonia Treatment Response

Diering, Graham, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cell Biology & Physiology

Research Interests

understanding the molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity with a particular interest in sleep

Projects


Dudek, Serena, PhD

Deputy Chief, Neurobiology Laboratory, NIEHS

Research Interests

Transcriptional regulation by neuronal activity to consolidate synaptic plasticity, Synapse elimination during brain development, Critical periods of synaptic plasticity during development

Projects


Engel, Stephanie, PhD

Associate Professor, Epidemiology

Research Interests

Child development, Environmental toxicants, Maternal health, Reproductive health

Projects


Gilmore, John, MD

Distinguished Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

Imaging early childhood brain development

Projects

Early Brain Development in Twins
Early Brain Development in One and Two Year Olds

Gray, Steven, PhD

Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology

Research Interests

AAV Vector Design and CNS Gene Therapy

Projects

A gene therapy consortium to develop and evaluate gene therapy approaches in Rett syndrome
Aspartylglucosaminuria (AGU) Gene Therapy
Giant Axonal Neuropathy Gene Therapy
Investigation of Gene Therapy Approaches for the Treatment of Giant Axonal Neuropathy
INCL Gene Therapy Using AAV9 vectors
Completion of CLN1 Efficacy Studies and Novel CNS Capsid Evaluations

Grewen, Karen, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

Impact of drug use during pregnancy on central and peripheral oxytocin and stress reactivity mechanisms and mother –infant bonding in both postpartum women and their neonates.

Projects

Cocaine and Maternal Behavior: Effects on Trajectory of Infant Brain Development

Hazlett, Heather, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

Brain development, neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism, fragile X, down syndrome)

Projects

Brain and Behavior Study of Autism from Infancy through School Age (ACE Network)

Jarstfer, Michael, PhD

Associate Professor, Pharmacy

Research Interests

Synthetic chemistry, molecular biology, and combinatorial chemistry techniques are used to investigate the ribonucleoprotein telomerase, which plays a pivotal role in tumorgenesis

Projects


Kato, Hiroyuki, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

understand the circuit mechanisms underlying how our brain synthesizes auditory information to extract complex sound features, such as our language

Projects


Klinger, Mark, PhD

Associate Professor, Allied Health

Research Interests

Cognitive neurosciences of autism; longitudinal outcomes of autism; transition to college and employment for adolescents with autism; learning disabilities

Projects

Using Structured Teaching to Promote Employment Skills in Adolescents with ASD

Klinger, Laura, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

adult outcomes and transition intervention approaches that facilitate positive outcomes with regards to employment, mental health, community integration, and quality of life for individuals with ASD

Projects


Li, Chengwen

Associate Professor, Pediatrics

Research Interests

Gene therapy for genetic neurological and hearing loss diseases

Projects


Lin, Weili, PhD

Professor, Radiology

Research Interests

Dr. Lin's research interests are two-fold: Using PET and MR imaging to research cerebral ischemia, both pre-clinically and clinically. Dr. Lin hopes his research in this field will refine how imaging can be used to guide therapy. Using MR as a means to noninvasively learn about structural and functional brain maturation.

Projects

UNC/UMN Baby Connectome Project

Lorenzo, Damaris, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cell Biology and Physiology

Research Interests

Molecular mechanisms of neuronal development and brain connectivity. Neurodevelopmental disorders. Mouse models of callosal agenesis and autism.

Projects

Identifying autism-associated neuronal pathways regulated by ANK2
Role of the spectrin cytoskeleton in neurodevelopment

Maness, Patricia, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry and Biophysics

Research Interests

understanding the molecular mechanisms governing development of the mammalian nervous system; specifically, mechanisms of axon guidance and synaptic targeting and their disruption in neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders

Projects

Molecular Mechanisms of Inhibitory Circuit Development
Mechanisms of Spine Pruning by Semaphorins and Ig-CAMs

Moy, Sheryl, PhD

Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

Characterization and preclinical efficacy testing in mouse models for neuropsychiatric disorders

Projects

Characterizing the (epi)genetics of oxytocin response in clinical and animal models

Odom, Sam, PhD

Director, FPG Child Development InstituteProfessor, School of Education

Research Interests

Autism Spectrum Disorders: early intervention, treatment comparison of preschool programs; adolescents and secondary programs; professional development

Projects

An Efficacy Study of the School Based National Professional Development Center on ASD Model
Center for Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (CSESA)

O'Shea, Mike, MD

Professor, Pediatrics

Research Interests

Epidemiologic studies of brain damage and neurodevelopmental outcome in very low gestational age newborns; Developmental follow up of participants in neonatal clinical trials.

Projects

Environment, Epigenetics, Neurodevelopment & Health of Extremely Preterm Children

Pardo-Manuel de Villena, Fernando, PhD

Professor, Genetics

Research Interests

evolution, mouse genetics, epigenetics, female meiosis, chromosome segregation, meiotic drive

Projects

Role of Maternal Diet and Allelic Imbalance in Behavior

Parnell, Scott, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cell Biology & Physiology

Research Interests

Pathology, pathogenic mechanisms and genetic susceptibilities underlying fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and other drugs of abuse

Projects

Exploring the Genetics of FASD in Complementary Mouse and Fish Models

Pedersen, Cort, MD

Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

placebo-controlled RCTs testing the efficacy of intranasal oxytocin administration in schizophrenia and alcohol dependence

Projects


Perkins, Diana, MD, MPH

Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

psychosis risk prediction and early intervention, as well as investigations of the genetic basis of schizophrenia

Projects

5/9-Predictors and Mechanisms of Conversion to Psychosis (NAPLS)

Philpot, Ben, PhD

Professor, Cell Biology & PhysiologyAssociate Director, IDDRC Post Doctoral Research Training Program

Research Interests

Identification and validation of novel therapeutics for the treatment of monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders; Understanding the molecular, cellular, and electrophysiological basis for the pathophysiology underlying monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders.

Projects

Validation of Biomarkers for Angelman Syndrome Clinical Trials
A Chemical Genetic Approach for Activating the Dormant Gene Associated with Rett Syndrome
Role of UBE3A in the Central Nervous System
Pilot Grant to test feasibility of gene therapy in Pitt-Hopkins syndrome

Piven, Joseph, MD

Director, Carolina Institute for Developmental DisabilitiesThomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor, Psychiatry and Pediatrics

Research Interests

pathogenesis of autism, Fragile X - MRI/DTI, genetics, early development

Projects

Brain and Behavior Study of Autism from Infancy through School Age (ACE Network)
An ASD Enriched (ASD-ER) ECHO Cohort
Investigating Air Pollution Effects on the Developing Brain and ASD

Politte, Laura, MD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

psychopharm clinical trials and new drug discovery for autism spectrum disorders

Projects

A phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of myrosinase-enriched glucoraphanin, a sulforaphane precursor system, in autism spectrum disorder

Roth, Bryan, MD, PhD

Professor, Pharmacology

Research Interests

GPCR Structure and Function, Synthetic Neurobiology, Drug Discovery

Projects

Illuminating the Druggable GPCR-ome
DREADD 2.0: An Enhanced Chemogenetic Platform

Santelli, Rebecca, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

Brain Development, Sex Differences, Gonadal Steroids, Turner Syndrome

Projects

Gut-Microbiome-Brain Interactions and Mental Health

Shen, Mark, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

Integrating neuroimaging, genetics, and clinical assessment in young children to study the early onset of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Projects

Validating Infant Brain and CSF Abnormalities as Early Biomarkers for Autism.

Sheridan, Margaret, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Research Interests

neural underpinnings of the development of cognitive control across childhood (from 5-18 years of age) and to understand how and why disruption in this process results in psychopathology

Projects

Do dimensions of adversity differentially predict neural development and psychopathology in young children

Smith, Spencer, PhD

Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Physiology

Research Interests

The overarching goal of my lab is to better understand how parts of the brain work in concert to encode stimuli, perform computations, and drive adaptive behavior.

Projects

Modulation of Dendritic Spiking in Vivo
Population dynamics across pairs of cortical areas in learning and behavior
Development and function of higher visual areas in mice
Multiphoton imaging for large brain volumes

Stein, Jason, PhD

Assistant Professor, Genetics

Research Interests

Exploring how variations in the genome change the structure and development of the brain, and in doing so, create risk for neuropsychiatric illness

Projects

Genetic Influences on Human Cortical Development
Defining the regulatory landscape of developing human neural cell-types
Brain Computational Infrastructure: EAGER: A Unified Computational Framework for Analysis, Storage, and Visualization of 3D Brain Microscopy Data

Stuber, Garret, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Cell Biology and Physiology

Research Interests

delineating the precise neural circuitry that underlies maladaptive behaviors that are implicated in a variety of neurological and neuropsychiatric illnesses

Projects

Neural Circuit Elements that Orchestrate Cue Reward Associations
Neural circuits and encoding of social motivation by oxytocin neurons

Styner, Martin, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Computer Science

Research Interests

Brain development, human bain MRI analysis, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Evaluation of image processing methodology, Rodent brain MRI analysis, Primate brain MRI analysis, Registration methodology, Structural brain segmentation, etc

Projects

Early Neurodevelopmental Origins of Anxiety
Infant and Brain Behavioral Signatures of Later Emerging Risk for Psychopathology
Maternal and infant microbiome determinants of brain and behavioral development
Multimodal Neuroimaging of Altered Brain Development in Maternal Immune Activation Models and Schizophrenia
Prenatal Pathways for How Poverty Influences Brains of Two Generations
Temporal connectomics for infant brain: neurodevelopment modulated by pathology

Sullivan, Patrick, MD, FRANZCP

Professor, Genetics

Research Interests

complex traits in humans, psychiatric genetics, pharmacogenetics, twin studies, schizophrenia, major depression, nicotine dependence

Projects


Swanson, Meghan R, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Research Interests

neurobiology of early communication

Projects

Early Social Communication Environment and Brain Development in Infants at Risk for Autism

Taylor, Anne Marion, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests

examining changes that occur at mammalian synapses during development, with disease, and following TBI

Projects

A user-friendly scalable microfluidic platform for enhanced neuron-cell culture

Turner-Brown, Lauren, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Research Interests

gaining a better understanding of the autism phenotype to promote accurate early detection and to develop and test more targeted interventions for individuals with autism

Projects


Watson, Linda, EdD

Professor, Allied Health Sciences

Research Interests

Autism: early identification, social-communication development, sensory features, early intervention

Projects

Evaluation of a Novel Intervention for Infants at Risk for Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Xiao, Xiao, PhD

Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor, School of Pharmacy

Research Interests

gene delivery and therapy for various genetic and acquired diseases

Projects

Gene delivery for fukutin-related protein deficiencies

Zylka, Mark, PhD

Professor, Cell Biology & Physiology

Research Interests

Mechanisms and therapeutics for autism and pain

Projects

Genome-scale CRISPR/Cas9 screen to identify new therapeutic targets for Angelman syndrome
High Throughput screen to identify drugs that normalize long gene expression in Rett Syndrome model neurons
The Elongation Hypothesis of Autism

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