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.

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).

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.

1 Comment
Doctor Jason Lerch and Doctor Jacob Ellegood are photographed in their Toronto lab on October 14, 2016. JENNIFER ROBERTS
News / Profiles

Meet the dynamic duo scanning every autism mouse brain

by  /  24 October 2016

At the Mouse Imaging Centre in Toronto, Jacob Ellegood and Jason Lerch are taking on autism’s complexity by scanning the brain of every autism mouse model they can acquire.

Master regulator:  Among CHD8’s many targets is a protein called beta-catenin, which controls cell growth. Julia Yellow

Autism gene needed for growth of neurons during gestation

by  /  7 October 2016

Mutations in one of the strongest autism candidate genes may block the proliferation of neurons during development.

Illustration by Cornelia Li
Opinion / Q&A

Questions for Rudolf Jaenisch: Creating mouse-human hybrids

by  /  4 October 2016

Despite ethical concerns, watching how human neurons develop in the mouse brain could help scientists understand conditions such as autism.

September 2016
Key clusters: New software that maps how groups of genes interact in the brain implicates certain molecular pathways in autism.

Novel software spots scores of new autism candidates

by  /  19 September 2016

Researchers have trained a computer algorithm to recognize the characteristics of autism genes.

Features / Deep Dive

The pioneers: How parents are experimenting with marijuana for autism

by  /  14 September 2016

Meet the backyard marijuana growers and home chemists who are rushing in where scientists fear to tread.

Arrested development: Mouse embryos lacking one copy of CHD8 (top) show gene expression patterns hinting at developmental delay.

Mice missing top autism gene make their debut

by  /  12 September 2016

Mice lacking one copy of CHD8, a key autism gene, show signs of social deficits and broad changes in gene expression.

Crowd sourcing:  A database of genetic variation across thousands of individuals shows that more than 100 mutations thought to be harmful are actually benign. woraput / iStock

Huge data-sharing venture lays bare human genetic variation

by  /  8 September 2016

A landmark collection of gene sequences from more than 60,000 people can help researchers spot mutations linked to autism.

evolution of humankind
Opinion / Q&A

Questions for Evan Eichler: An evolving theory of autism

by  /  6 September 2016

A gene that raises the risk of autism in some people may also give humans an evolutionary boost.

Sample cells: Researchers can test potential drugs for fragile X syndrome using stem cells from people with the condition (left) that lack the fragile X protein (green).
News / Toolbox

Glowing cells bolster search for fragile X drugs

by  /  2 September 2016

A new genetic trick allows researchers to quickly spot the most promising treatments for fragile X syndrome among thousands of candidate compounds.


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