Waisman investigator one of 12 to receive a Kellett Mid-Career Award

By Emily Leclerc, Waisman Science Writer

Xinyu Zhao, PhD (Photo © Andy Manis)

Xinyu Zhao, PhD, Waisman investigator and professor of neuroscience, was recently awarded a Kellett Mid-Career Award, among 11 others, by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. The award is given to faculty who were promoted to tenured positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison within the last seven to 20 years and who have made key contributions to their fields. The award is named for the late William R. Kellett, a former president of the WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) board of trustees and president of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation. The Kellett Mid-Career Award provides support and encouragement to faculty at a critical stage of their career and comes with $75,000 to be spent over five years.

Her overall work is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control stem cells and neurodevelopment with the ultimate goal of better understanding neurological and developmental disorders such as fragile X syndrome and autism. Zhao uses transgenic models, human pluripotent stem cells, CRISPR gene-edited stem cells, and 3D brain organoids as model systems and employs cutting edge genomics, proteomics, fluorescent imaging, and behavioral methods to study the roles of genes, epigenetic regulators, RNA, and proteins in neurodevelopment. Zhao has made several important discoveries with her research. She discovered multiple novel mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders including fragile X syndrome and autism. She also discovered key factors that are important for neuron development in mammalian brains.


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