Author

Jessica Wright

Senior News Writer, Spectrum

Jessica Wright writes for Spectrum and reports on breaking autism research from conferences around the world. She joined Spectrum in 2010.

Jessica covers all aspects of autism research, but her primary beat is genetics. She has firsthand experience with whole-genome sequencing from her postdoc at Rockefeller University. Her writing has also appeared in Nature and Scientific American.

Jessica has a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Stanford University.

November 2016
Rodent reward: Male mice with a deletion linked to autism have trouble figuring out what to do to get a food treat. 

© Royce DeGrie / shutterstock.com
News

Reward protein may protect females from autism mutation

by  /  15 November 2016

Female mice with a large deletion linked to autism may compensate for its loss by upping the levels of a key protein.

0 Comments
Brain boost: An injection of stem cells can improve cognition in rats. 
© The Sanger Institute. Wellcome Images
News

Stem cell transplant makes rats more social

by  /  14 November 2016

Injecting stem cells into young rats makes them more social and flexible when learning tasks than before the treatment.

0 Comments
Illustration by Gizem Vural
News

In scramble for science faculty jobs, timing is key

by  /  14 November 2016

Parlaying a postdoc into one of a dwindling number of faculty positions takes hard work and sheer luck.

0 Comments
Fiber frenzy: In young children with autism, extra neuronal connections may sprout from the amygdala, a brain region governing fear.Eraxion / iStock
News

In autism, brain’s emotion hub begins with too many cells

by  /  13 November 2016

The amygdala, a brain region that governs emotions, may be enlarged and overly connected in children with autism, but it shrinks as the children grow up.

0 Comments
Select cells: A new method targets genetic constructs to unique circuits within the brain’s vast network.Simon Walker-Samuel / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
News

DNA codes home in on mouse brain regions

by  /  13 November 2016

Researchers have identified DNA segments that can help them manipulate mouse brain regions with an unprecedented level of specificity.

0 Comments
Of mice and men: Mouse models of fragile X syndrome might be too different from people with the condition to reliably screen treatments.Jasmin Chang
News

Stem cell models of fragile X may help personalize therapies

by  /  13 November 2016

Neurons generated from the skin cells of individuals with fragile X syndrome show different combinations of features associated with the syndrome.

0 Comments
Imbalanced brain: Regions involved in motor control, memory and emotion are typically larger on the right side of the brain than the left.
News

Autism mice have unusually symmetrical brains

by  /  12 November 2016

Mice that carry mutations linked to autism are less likely than controls to show size differences between right and left brain regions.

0 Comments
Mice in a house in a lab environment
Opinion / Q&A

Questions for Timothy Murphy: Mice take selfies of their brains

by  /  8 November 2016

By coaching mice to position themselves under a microscope, researchers can regularly peer into their brains without disrupting the rodents’ social life.

0 Comments
Telling tapestry: The expression of hundreds of genes is either elevated (yellow) or depressed (blue) in people with schizophrenia.
News

Large postmortem brain study unearths clues to schizophrenia

by  /  3 November 2016

A massive collection of brain tissue reveals common genetic variants that influence gene expression in the brain.

2 Comments
October 2016
Sight sense: A visual brain region may be less synchronized with other brain regions in children with autism (bottom) than in typical children (top).
News

Scans during sleep spotlight early brain asynchrony in autism

by  /  26 October 2016

Brain scans of sleeping children with autism reveal reduced synchrony between a brain region that processes emotions and structures involved in social communication.

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