Emily Wang

October 17, 2014

Neuroscience in Clinic: Screening Genetic and Phenotypic Correlations in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder typically characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors, and cognitive delays. The effect of prematurity on development, and rare genetic disorders, including 16p11.2 deletion/duplication syndrome, are at a high correlation with ASD. Adopting effective phenotyping measures, developmental assessment tools and behavioral interventions for clinical and research use are essential for better understanding of the causes and treatment of ASD at a clinical level. This summer, I worked at the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Phenotyping Research Lab at Boston Children's Hospital and worked closely with children with ASD. I took part in multiple projects that aim to examine correlations between genetic variations and ASD. I helped to administer various diagnostic assessments, neurological exams, and clinical testings that contribute to the diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders. By engaging in both laboratory and hospital environments and working closely with other research labs, pediatricians and psychologists, I gained better understanding of collaborative clinical research and its relation to the health care field.