Q&A

Close-up image of a dead fly with visible growths protruding from its abdomen due to Entomophthora fungus infection.

Mind control in zombie flies: Q&A with Carolyn Elya

A parasitic fungus compels its insect host to behave in strange ways by hijacking secretory neurons and circadian pathways.

By Shaena Montanari
25 June 2024 | 5 min read
Portrait of Matthew Siegel sitting on a staircase.

Pinning down ‘profound autism’ for reliable research: Q&A with Matthew Siegel

A clear and actionable definition for the term could enhance research and improve care, Matthew Siegel says.

By Katie Moisse
13 June 2024 | 7 min read
Research images of the human motor cortex

What happens when a histopathologist teams up with computational modelers?

Answers emerge in my chat with Nicola Palomero-Gallagher, a rare example of someone who connects the brain’s microscopic constituents and macroscopic features.

By Mac Shine
11 December 2023 | 7 min read
A scientist looks into a microscope

Raising the bar for stem cell research: Q&A with Jack Mosher

New quality benchmarks for basic research involving stem cells promise to improve rigor and reproducibility, says Mosher, who helped develop the standards.

By Lauren Schenkman
10 October 2023 | 7 min read
A patient receives transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Magnetic stimulation for autism: Q&A with Xujun Duan

A new individualized approach to transcranial magnetic stimulation may one day be an effective treatment for social and communication difficulties, if the results from Duan’s small preliminary trial pan out.

By Angie Voyles Askham
11 September 2023 | 6 min read
Justin West holding his son.

Progress amid setbacks in drug trials for rare forms of epilepsy: Q&A with Justin West

Despite grave side effects, it’s vital to keep developing treatments for rare genetic forms of childhood epilepsy, says West, president of the KCNT1 Epilepsy Foundation and father of a son with the condition.

By Calli McMurray
30 August 2023 | 6 min read
A dentist examines a young girl’s teeth.

Easing sensory sensitivities in the clinic: Q&A with Leah Stein Duker

Dentist or doctor visits can overwhelm autistic children with sensory sensitivities. Occupational therapy can help, Stein Duker says.

By Calli McMurray
30 June 2023 | 5 min read
Illustration of a watch with the face taken up by an MRI scan of a brain.

Ruth Carper: Imaging the aging brain in autistic adults

Few studies have tracked how brain structure and function change across adulthood in people with autism. Carper and her colleagues are collecting data to fill this gap.

By Peter Hess
19 May 2023 | 7 min read
Illustration of a room with DNA sequence wallpaper and three doors leading to abstract new environments.

The future of autism therapies: A conversation with Lilia Iakoucheva and Derek Hong

If a therapy for autism’s core traits makes it to market, it will likely take one of three forms, the researchers say.

By Peter Hess
14 April 2023 | 5 min read
Illustration of a single patient in a clinical trial sitting on a bed in a glitchy, imperfectly rendered room.

Lessons from n-of-1 trials: A conversation with Joseph Gleeson

Some conditions are too rare for conventional drug trials, leading some scientists to test bespoke treatments in single participants. Gleeson discusses the merits — and limitations — of these tiny trials.

By Peter Hess
30 March 2023 | 7 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Brain organoids overgrowth; DSCAM gene; sleep issues in autism

Here is a roundup of autism-related news and research spotted around the web for the week of 24 June.

By Jill Adams
25 June 2024 | 2 min read
Illustration of a canyon landscape with an orange clock face in place of a sun.

How to teach this paper: ‘Behavioral time scale synaptic plasticity underlies CA1 place fields,’ by Bittner and Milstein et al. (2017)

Katie Bittner, Aaron Milstein and their colleagues found that cellular learning can happen over longer timescales than Hebb’s rule predicts. How long should we wait to teach students about this phenomenon?

By Ashley Juavinett
24 June 2024 | 11 min read
Portrait of Kaspar Podgorski standing in his lab wearing a helmet with a climbing rope over his shoulder.

Climbing to new heights: Q&A with Kaspar Podgorski

The optical physiologist tracks neural computations inside the lab and scales sheer rock faces outside—even after a life-changing fall.

By Elissa Welle
21 June 2024 | 8 min read