Division Director


The Division of Developmental Neurogenetics is focused on understanding the contribution of genetic factors to brain development more broadly and to neurodevelopmental disorders specifically. We approach this goal using a mix of human genetics to identify potential risk genes and rodent models to understand the impact of manipulating these genes. Our primary focus is on disorders of childhood, including autism spectrum disorder and pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder, but we are also collaborating with others within the Sackler Institute to understand the genetic contributions to developmental disorders that emerge in adolescence or early adulthood. We approach the heterogeneity of these complex, multifactorial disorders by using biomarkers to identify subpopulations that may share common genetic and environmental risk factors. Our work in rodents has focused on manipulation of genes in the serotonin, oxytocin, or glutamate systems to understand the impact on neurodevelopment and downstream social and repetitive behavior. Our focus on genetics is an ideal complement to other investigators within the Sackler Institute who are focused on early environmental or drug exposures or on later impact on the function of key brain circuits