Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD
Assistant Professor, Cell and Regenerative Biology
PhD, University of Cincinnati
My research examines how the development of the cerebral cortex is altered in developmental disorders characterized by mental impairment. The cerebral cortex is the most complex area of the brain and is responsible for functions unique to humans, such as language and abstract thought. Problems in any of the crucial steps in the formation of the cerebral cortex can lead to mental impairment. Research in my lab is focused on two genetic developmental disorders, Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome. Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome (Trisomy 21), while Fragile X syndrome is due to a single gene mutation (fmr1 gene). I am using human pluripotent stem cells that carry either trisomy 21 or the fmr1 mutation to study the development of the cerebral cortex in vitro. These stem cells have intrinsic characteristics that can be investigated in culture to further our understanding and treatment of developmental disorders. By defining the mistakes in neurodevelopment that lead to mental impairment, we may be able to target therapeutics for these developmental disorders.