Drs. Dan Johnston and Boris Zemelman received a McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award for their research proposal entitled “Prefrontal Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome”.
Fragile X Syndrome is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability and is caused by a mutation in the fmr1 gene. Previously it has been shown that mice lacking the fmr1 gene (and the protein it codes for FMRP) are unable to learn a simple working memory task. The project proposes to build on this research by using viral-mediated manipulation of fmr1 in individual neurons of the prefrontal cortex and testing animal behavior and neuronal physiology. This research could suggest future clinical approaches to treating FXS by determining optimal cell targets for therapeutic interventions.