About Us

About Us

Lab Focus

We use a combination of human genetics, genomics, and animal modeling to study the molecular mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We identify novel genes mutated in disease by next generation sequencing in families affected with ASD, and investigate the role of these genes in neuronal function using mouse models.


Maria Chahrour, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the Center for Human Genetics

Maria obtained her undergraduate degree in biology from the American University of Beirut prior to attending the University of North Texas for a graduate degree in forensic genetics and Baylor College of Medicine for a Ph.D. in molecular and human genetics. She later joined Harvard Medical school and Boston Children's Hospital as a postdoctoral fellow and worked there as an instructor in the Division of Genetics and Genomics. Her work focuses on identifying novel genes in autism spectrum disorder and deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease. Maria currently resides with her husband and two sons in Dallas.

Dr. Chahrour on LinkedIn


Kiran Kaur, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

Kiran obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Blackburn College, master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kentucky, and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Southern Methodist University. In graduate school, Kiran studied calmodulin binding proteins in the Tryapnosoma bruei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness. She was the coordinator and the instructor for the biotechnology program at El Centro College.  She recently joined Maria’s lab as a lab manager and to study the molecular mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorder.


Solmi Cheon, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Solmi obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and then a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Seoul National University. In graduate school, Solmi studied regulatory mechanisms of circadian rhythm and glucocorticoid. She recently joined Maria’s lab to study molecular mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorder.


Islam Oguz Tuncay

Garduate Student

Oguz Tuncay

Nadine Nijem

Research Technician

Nadine Nijem

Lab Alumni

Melissa Garcia 2015-2016 Research Assistant
Akanksha Saxena 2015-2016 Research Technician - Medical Student at Drexel University
Maggie Stein 2016 STARS Summer Student - The Hockaday School
Katrina Ngo 2016 SURF Summer Student - Austin College
Stejara Dinulescu 2016 Summer Intern - Southern Methodist University
Raida Khalil, Ph.D. 2016-2017 Visiting Fellow - Associate Professor at Philadelphia University Jordan
Michael He 2017 Summer Intern - Coppell High School
Chandler Werthmann 2017 MSTP Rotation Student
Milan Dean 2017-2018 Research Technician