Quantifying and evaluating models of autism in mice / correlation analysis of connectivity in the brain

Adviser: Dr. Laura Oliveira

Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

Weekly hours:  10

Total hours:  250

Supervisor: Dr. Bobae An

Email: bobaean@duke.edu

Description: Through genetic editing with genes analogous to those present in humans, several different mouse models have been created that should demonstrate similar behaviors to those shown in humans with autism. I analyze footage and audio recordings from social behavior tests to quantify the differences between unaltered mice and genetically altered mice and validate these models. We can then use these models to look at the electrophysiological differences between mice with and without the edits, which can shine light on potential stimulus to help alleviate symptoms of autism.

Connection to reverse-engineering the brain:  One of the common theories of autism is that it comes from, in part, a different kind of wiring. If we can analyze the electrophysiological differences between a mouse that demonstrates these behaviors, and a normal mouse, then we can begin to understand how these changes in firing patterns can affect the changes in behavior, and can work backwards to stimulate the brain in such a way as to alleviate these behaviors.