Postdoctoral fellow is awarded $100,000 to continue study of fragile X syndrome
Most common inherited cause of autism
The FRAXA Research Foundation, which supports work aimed at finding a specific treatment for fragile X syndrome, has awarded Yuan-Chen Tsai, a postdoctoral fellow in UCI’s Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, a two-year, $100,000 grant to advance her studies. The genetic neurological disorder is the most common inherited cause of autism as well as mild to severe intellectual disability and occurs when a single gene mutates in the X chromosome, preventing proper brain development. Currently working in the lab of Momoko Watanabe, assistant professor of anatomy & neurobiology, Tsai seeks to build human brain organoids – laboratory-grown brain tissues – that more closely model how fragile X alters gene activity in the human brain. “Our new system will be a valuable tool for improving our understanding of the condition and provide a powerful testing platform, especially for preclinical drug trials,” she said.