Sirois Receives Prestigious Postdoc Fellowship

Carissa SiroisPostdoctoral Fellow Carissa Sirois from Xinyu Zhao’s laboratory has been awarded a very prestigious and highly competitive fellowship from the Autism Science Foundation (ASF). This grant will help fund her research on, “Developing Therapeutics for Autism and Fragile X Syndrome Based on Divergent Brainwave Patterns.”


Even in cases of autism with a known genetic mutation, there can be differences in the presentation of symptoms, which is also known as “phenotypic heterogeneity.” One way to measure this variability across individuals with autism is by examining brainwave patterns. Earlier research in people with Fragile X Syndrome has shown that individuals have different patterns of brainwave activity, which may predict their response to treatments. Building on this research, the fellow will collect cells from individuals with Fragile X Syndrome and turn them into neurons. These cells will then be tested for their own electrical activity, validating the brainwave data collected earlier. This study will then take the research a step further by examining if and how different therapeutics affect these neurons in different ways, leading to more targeted therapeutics.

Since its founding in 2009, the Autism Science Foundation has funded more than $5 million in grants that have resulted in breakthroughs that have made a demonstrably positive impact on the lives of people with autism. Only nine awards were given out for Spring 2022. The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding innovative autism research and supporting families of people with autism.

Congratulations, Carissa!