HRP SU20-2: Research Opportunity with Dr. Byoung-Il Bae

Project Mentor

Dr. Byoung-Il Bae 

Department of Neuroscience

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description The student will study the neurodevelopmental basis of autism spectrum disorder. She/he will characterize rare variants of the neurodevelopmental gene ASPM, which have been implicated in autism. She/he will generate the mutant constructs by site directed mutagenesis, and evaluate their effects on the protein levels of ASPM, the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway, and neural progenitor cell proliferation. Successful completion of this project will elucidate how young patients with autism have larger than normal head circumferences (“macrocephaly”), and how abnormal neurodevelopment alters neural circuits for social behaviors.
Project Direction This project is the first step toward establishing the causal relationship between rare variants of ASPM and macrocephaly in autism. Results from this project may lead to a more detailed characterization of the rare variants in the developing mouse brains as well as in 3-dimensional human neural stem cell cultures.
Mentorship and Supervision The principal investigator (PI) is available in most afternoons. Two well-trained postdoctoral fellows will directly supervise the student side by side. The PI will frequently interact with the student and go over both the big picture and experimental details 2-3 times a week. Progress will be constantly monitored during these interactions by asking questions and checking the results from the experiments. Feedback will be given verbally and by e-mail at the end of the month.
Student Qualifications The student must be passionate and curious. Basic understanding of molecular biology is required. Skills in cell culture are desired but not required.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 26 to July 31, 2020
Schedule: M-F, 10am-6pm
Project Continuation Fall 2020, Spring 2021
Academic Year Time Commitment 9 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, February 3, 2020.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, an unofficial transcript, a brief statement of research interests, a brief statement of career interests, and contact information for references.