It’s been a whirlwind of a spring (literally and figuratively) for the Dougherty lab. Last week, Nathan Kopp successfully defended his thesis work investigating human and mouse genetics of Williams’ syndrome. In total, his work compellingly refutes a standing model in the Williams’ field which posits that loss of one copy of the transcription factor, Gtf2i, is sufficient to produce the social disinhibition seen in the disorder. Nathan heads to UCLA next month to begin training as a clinical geneticist; we’re all proud of and excited for him as he turns to applying his knowledge to human health!

In addition, Rachel Rahn was awarded an F31 fellowship this week for her exciting work intersecting mouse behavior, developmental genetics, and functional connectivity and calcium imaging. Rachel is co-mentored by Joe Culver, a pioneer in imaging-behavior methods in mouse neuroscience. Congratulations, Rachel!

As if that weren’t enough, Susan Maloney had a mouse behavior study examining the role of the gene Celf6, encoding an RNA-binding protein, in learning behaviors of mice! On top of that, Kayla’s paper on analytically inappropriate comparisons/conclusions in mouse behavior research was also accepted! Congratulations to them both on these achievements in the field of behavioral genetics!

Finally, we welcomed two new graduate students this month, Allen and Jiayang! Allen will be studying in vivo transcriptional-regulatory phenomenon involved in CNS differentiation and development. Jiayang is testing candidate enhancers (detected using the same method as Allen’s work) for cell type-specificity in the mouse brain in vivo. Welcome aboard, gentlemen!