Mental Retardation

In Vivo Analysis of the Role of FMRP in Dendrite Maturation and Plasticity in the
Somatosensory Cortex

2009 Seed Grant
Anis Contractor, Ph.D.
Northwestern University

Fragile X syndrome is the most common form of human mental retardation and the single
largest known cause of autism. One prominent manifestation of the disease is an alteration in
sensory processing that results in tactile hypersensitivity in fragile X patients. This study will
seek to define the impairments in dendritic maturation and plasticity in the sensory cortex of a
fragile X mouse model. The results will allow us to determine the role that fragile X mental
retardation protein plays in the development and plasticity of neurons which underlie sensory
processing.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The role of microglial lysosomes in selective neuronal vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the nervous system constructs internal models of the external world
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the orchestra of movement—functional role of striatal astrocytes in health and disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…