Disruptions in dopamine (DA) homeostasis are associated with several neuropsychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and drug addiction. The Galli Lab has recently identified several missense mutations in the human DA transporter (DAT) gene (SLC6A3) in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These mutations result in aberrant DAT function, strongly implicating disruptions in DA transport as a risk factor in ASD. My Ph.D. work will focus on understanding the contributions of altered or disrupted dopamine signaling mediated by variations in DAT to ASD risk.
PI: Aurellio Galli, Ph.D.