Dr Joanna Smith
Resting state fMRI in rat models of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disabilities.
2020 - Present: Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
2017 - 2020: PhD in Integrative Physiology, University of Edinburgh
2016 - 2017: Research assistant, University of Edinburgh
2015 - 2016: MSc by Research in Integrative Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh
2014 - 2015: MHS in Environmental Health Sciences: Human Toxicology and Pathophysiology, Johns Hopkins University, USA
2011 - 2014: BSc in Biological Sciences, Universite catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Autism Spectrum disorders and Intellectual Disabilities (ASD/ID) are co-occurring neurodevelopmental disorders that affect approximatively 100 million individuals worldwide. Yet, existing treatments only focus on managing symptoms. Methods that can be applied to both human and rodents would facilitate the translation of basic science findings into clinical studies. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a non-invasive imaging technique that measures BOLD signal change as a correlate of neuronal activity. It is easily translatable across species, providing a powerful tool to investigate how brain activity is modulated across different states, such as during development, diseases or following a pharmacological intervention.
My research focuses on using resting state fMRI to study rat models of ASD/ID. Specifically, I am looking at the functional connectivity of resting state networks in a rat model of Fragile X Syndrome. I am also interested in assessing the impact of potential therapeutic intervention on the brain resting state activity.