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College of Arts and Sciences

Center Affiliates

Directors 

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Jane Roberts, Ph.D., Professor and Chair

 Dr. Roberts' work focuses on understanding the biological mechanisms that underlie cognitive and behavioral functioning in children and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, fragile X syndrome, and ADHD.

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Jeff Twiss, Ph.D., Professor and Interim Chair

The Twiss lab uses molecular and cellular biology approaches to understand how neurons develop and function. They are particularly interested in how post-transcriptional regulation impacts neuron growth, focusing on subcellular mRNA translation and RNA dynamics in neurons.

Affiliates

College of Arts and Sciences

 

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 Jessica Bradshaw, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Dr. Bradsahw’s research focuses on early identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the first years of life, including: 1) quantifying the emergence of, and interrelations between, social behavior, visual attention, and motor skills in neonates, infants, and toddlers, 2) identifying aberrant neurodevelopmental pathways that lead to the emergence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 3) translating these basic findings to early detection and intervention strategies for ASD.


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 Jessica Green, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Dr. Green’s research uses non-invasive brain recordings to examine multisensory perception and attention, including how these processes are altered in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

 

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Kimbery Hills, Ph.D., Clinical Professor

 Dr. Hills provides clinical training in ASD assessment skills to clinicians across the state of South Carolina. Her current research interests focus on autism diagnosis, psychological assessment, prevention and intervention for at-risk youth and positive psychology.

 

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Abigail Hogan, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor

 Dr. Hogan’s ongoing research aims to characterize the predictors of social-emotional functioning in siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her work utilizes multiple methods, including eye tracking, heart activity measurement, electroencephalogram (EEG), and behavioral phenotyping.

 

 

 

 

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John Richards, Ph.D., Carolina Distinguished Professor

 

 

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Fabienne Poulain, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Research in the Poulain lab aims at understanding how neuronal circuits are formed, maintained and refined during development. We use a unique combination of genetic, biochemical and high resolution live imaging approaches in zebrafish to decipher the cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain wiring directly in vivo. Our discoveries may give new insight on the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders that originate from miswiring of neuronal circuits during development.

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Deanna Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor

In humans, heterozygous mutations in LIS1 typically cause a severe developmental brain abnormality, lissencephaly, in large part due to a critical role in regulating intracellular trafficking. Recently, in conjunction with the Greenwood Genetics Center, we identified a conservative mutation in LIS1 in a child diagnosed with autism. We are currently trying to understand how this mutation impacts LIS1, focusing on potential dysfunction in the axon.

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Kristy Welshhans, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

 

College of Education

 

 

 

 

College of Engineering and Computing

 

School of Medicine

 

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Fiona Hollis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

 The Hollis lab uses behavioral and cellular biology approaches to investigate the role of brain mitochondrial function in social behaviors relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders such as Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

 

 

 

College of Pharmacy
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Sajish Mathew, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

 

 

Arnold School of Public Health
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Guoshuai Cai, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

 Dr. Cai is an bioinformatician and his research focuses on the development and application of bioinformatic, statistical and computational methods for analyzing genomic and biomedical data to investigate complex human disease including Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Specifically, his current research aims at developing efficient methods for single-cell RNA-seq data analysis, multi-dimensional genomics data integration, and marker identification and disease outcome prediction using machine learning methods.

 

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Jessica Klusek, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Dr. Klusek’s research program aims to delineate the nature and basis of communication deficits in conditions associated with FMR1 gene dysfunction: fragile X syndrome and the FMR1 premutation. Her research focuses on three primary areas: (1) defining communication features and their interface with psychiatric and cognitive aspects of the phenotype; (2) identifying biomarkers to inform mechanistic underpinnings, with a focus on autonomic and molecular genetic markers; (3) addressing syndrome-specificity via the use of a cross-population comparison approach that juxtaposes fragile X with autism-- disorders of shared behaviors but distinct genetic etiologies.

 

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Suzanne McDermott, Ph.D., Professor

Dr. Suzanne McDermott is an epidemiologist and her research program involves identifying risk factors during pregnancy such as infections, chemicals and disease processes that increase the risk for fetuses to develop a neurodevelopmental disability, especially intellectual disability and autism.

 

 

 

College of Social Work

 

 

 


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