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.

Xinyu Zhao, PhD – Slide of the Week

Fragile X syndrome results from a loss of the RNA-binding protein fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). How FMRP regulates neuronal development and function remains unclear. Here we show that FMRP-deficient immature neurons exhibit impaired dendritic maturation, altered expression of mitochondrial genes, fragmented mitochondria, impaired mitochondrial function, and increased oxidative stress.

Cell component breakdown suggests possible treatment for multiple neural disorders

UW-Madison research published today (Feb. 11, 2019) reveals how one mutation causes fragile X, the most common inherited intellectual disability. “Fragile X syndrome has been studied as a model of intellectual disability because in theory it’s comparatively simple,” says senior author Xinyu Zhao, a professor of neuroscience in the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.