A new fragile X study has been funded! Dr. Jessica Klusek’s lab at the University of South Carolina will take part in a multi-site study funded by the National Institutes of Health. A $3.1 million research grant has been awarded from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. The study is led by Dr. Len Abbeduto of the MIND institute at University of California Davis, with sites at Vanderbilt University led by Dr. Julie Lounds Taylor and University of South Carolina led by Dr. Jessica Klusek. The focus of this longitudinal study is to understand the interaction between language and capacity for independent functioning during the transition into adulthood in individuals with fragile X syndrome. Dr. Klusek is currently recruiting individuals with fragile X syndrome who are in their final year of high school. Recruitment is nationwide, with travel expenses paid by the grant. For more information, please contact Dr. Klusek’s lab.
Sydney Burrell was awarded a Magellan Scholars Research Grant. The title of her project is: “Mother-Child Synchrony as a Predictor of Problem Behavior and Autism-Related Deficits in Individuals with Fragile X Syndrome.” In this project, she will investigate if mother-child interaction can predict social outcomes, problem behaviors, and autism symptoms at a one-year follow up. Congratulations, Sydney!
Veronica McLean, a junior at USC double majoring in Psychology and English in the South Carolina Honors College, has been recently awarded a Science Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) to support her engagement in mentored research with our team. Veronica’s project will focus on story grammar and narrative abilities associated with FMR1 gene mutations. Congratulations, Veronica!
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP IN AUTISM AND FRAGILE X ASSOCIATED CONDITIONS
The lab of Dr. Jessica Klusek is pleased to announce the availability of one full-time NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship position. This is a two-year position, with the option to extend to three years. The focus of this position is on language, literacy, and adult outcomes in fragile X syndrome. The fellow will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of ongoing projects in the lab, which focus broadly on language and communication phenotypes in autism, the broad autism phenotype, and the FMR1 permutation. Dr. Klusek conducts research on psychiatric, physiological, and genetic correlates of communication ability across these neurodevelopment conditions.
The fellow will receive hands-on experience conducting clinical studies of individuals with neurodevelopment disorders and their families. Autism diagnostic training will be offered (ADOS-2 research reliability). The fellow will also have the opportunity to participate in specialized training in the use and interpretation of physiological (i.e., heart activity) data in NDD research and in pragmatic language assessment. The fellow will be expected to both advance ongoing projects and to collaborate with Dr. Klusek and other lab members to develop new studies. There will be a significant emphasis on manuscript preparation, as well as professional development such as running an independent lab, mentoring students, and grant writing. The fellow will be encouraged to submit their own application for external funding to a major federal agency or private foundation (e.g., NIH, Autism Speaks).
Dr. Klusek’s research is interdisciplinary and this opportunity is appropriate for applicants with backgrounds in psychology, speech-language pathology, health and human development, or other related disciplines. The start date is flexible, beginning fall 2018 or spring 2019.
Interested candidates are invited to e-mail a CV and statement of interest to:
Jessica Klusek, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Dept. Communication Sciences and Disorders
Arnold School of Public Health
University of South Carolina
Check out our newest study on literacy development in children with fragile X syndrome!! Published in the American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, research the published is called ‘Reading in children with fragile X syndrome: Phonological awareness and feasibility of intervention’.
Rainey Hughes, a former undergraduate research assistant with the lab, has had a paper accepted for publication in Caravel, USC’s journal for undergraduate research! Rainey’s paper, Communicative Gestures in Infants with Fragile X Syndrome, presents the results of her Magellan Scholars undergraduate research project focused on gesture skills in 12-month old infants with fragile X syndrome. Rainey is currently pursuing a PhD in School Psychology at the University of Houston. Congratulations, Rainey! We are so proud of your accomplishments!