IDD Models

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Models Core in the Waisman Center provides a number of resources to investigators within our center as well as to other campus investigators. First, the core provides mouse models of human conditions, along with behavioral testing capabilities to characterize these models and test new therapies. Second, we provide state-of-the-art stem cell technologies to support creation of induced pluripotent stem cell lines for  IDD conditions as well as specialized genome editing services. Finally, we provide high quality, cost effective, microscopy technology and expertise for characterization of both stem cell and mouse models of IDD conditions.

IDD Models Leadership

John Svaren, PhD

John Svaren, PhD
Core Director

Svaren is professor of comparative biosciences. He was appointed Co-Director of the previous Cellular and Molecular Neurosciences Core in 2008, and became its Director in 2010. His laboratory focuses on gene regulatory mechanisms that control myelination of peripheral nerves by Schwann cells, which bear directly on the pathogenesis of Charcot-Marie Tooth diseases. His lab has employed in vivo ChIP-seq analysis to characterize genetic/epigenetic mechanisms of myelination and how these mechanisms are altered in myelin disorders.

Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD

Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD
Co-Core Director 

Bhattacharyya, an assistant professor of cell and regenerative biology. She oversees and coordinates the hPSC core, from patient consenting through hPSC generation and characterization. She maintains the Waisman Center hPSC service human subjects IRB protocol. Her research is focused on identifying neural development defects in Down syndrome, funded by NICHD, and Fragile X syndrome using disorder-specific human hPSCs.

Xinyu Zhao

Xinyu Zhao, PhD
Co-Core Director 

Zhao is a professor of neuroscience. An expert in microscopy, Zhao’s NIH-funded research uses neural stem cells as a model system to explore complex genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate neuronal development and their implication in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Rett syndrome, autism, and fragile X syndrome. There are two main foci in her lab, one is epigenetic basis of gene-environment interactions and the other neuronal RNA binding proteins. She uses both mouse genetic models and human patient-derived stem cells.