New Department of Defense Grant to Study Fragile X Syndrome in Human Cells

Xinyu Zhao, PhD, and Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD, will partner on research over the next four years to better understand the molecular underpinnings behind the diversity of FXS symptoms and how that diversity may inform the search for effective therapies.

Inside Waisman: Meet Lindsay McCary

As a third year graduate student in school psychology at the University of South Carolina, Lindsay McCary, PhD, was looking for a new advisor to help her with her dissertation. At the time, Jane Roberts, PhD, had just joined the Department of Psychology and had some data available on younger children with the genetic disorder fragile X syndrome (FXS). McCary was immediately fascinated by the new professor’s research because it integrated both behavioral and physiological data to examine an individual’s observable characteristics.

Improved technique illuminates fragile X protein

Researchers at the Waisman Center made a significant step in understanding the function of a specific protein, FMR1, whose absence causes fragile X syndrome, or FXS. Waisman investigators Xinyu Zhao, PhD, and Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD, with research associate Meng Li, published their paper “Identification of FMR1-regulated molecular networks in human neurodevelopment” in the March issue of the journal Genome Research.

Five language outcome measures evaluated for intellectual disabilities studies

A multi-university team of researchers found that expressive language sampling (ELS) can be useful in measuring outcomes in clinical trials targeting fragile X syndrome (FXS). According to their study, ELS, a set of procedures for collecting and analyzing spoken language in natural verbal interactions, yielded five language-related outcome measures that may be useful for treatment studies in intellectual disabilities, especially FXS.

Electronic records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation

It was long believed the FMR1 premutation — an excessive number of trinucleotide repeats in the FMR1 gene — had no direct effect on the people who carry it. Until recently, the only recognized effect on the carriers of the flawed gene was the risk of having offspring with fragile X syndrome, a rare but serious form of developmental disability.