Autism organization honors student scientist

Student research assistant Mehreen Kouser has been named a 2010 Dennis Weatherstone Pre-Doctoral Fellow by leaders of Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.

Ms. Kouser is one of eight recipients of the $56,000, two-year award, which recognizes promising young scientists with exceptional research training opportunities related to autism spectrum disorders.

Dr. Craig Powell

“Being a Weatherstone fellow provides me with exposure to cutting edge advances and a chance to collaborate with the best of the best in the field of autism,” said Ms. Kouser.

Her work centers on a genetic animal model of autism based on human mutations in a gene called Shank3, a major organizer of the molecules that respond to neurotransmitters at connections between nerve cells in the brain.

Dr. Craig Powell, assistant professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics and psychiatry at UT Southwestern, is Ms. Kouser’s faculty mentor.

The Weatherstone pre-doctoral fellowship is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation named in honor of former J.P. Morgan CEO Sir Dennis Weatherstone.

– LaKisha Ladson

Week of Jan. 15-21, 2011 /