New class of Autism Speaks fellows includes the Martinos Center's Nicole Zurcher Wimmer

July 7, 2014


Advocacy group Autism Speaks has named Nicole Zurcher Wimmer one of the 2014 class of Meixner Postdoctoral Fellows in Translational Research. The fellowship program supports promising young investigators in the autism research community with projects bridging laboratory science and real-world applications.

"This class of fellows continues to build upon Autism Speaks' investment into the next generation of autism researchers,” Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Robert Ring said in a statement, “while also emphasizing ‘bench-to-bedside’ approaches to treat the growing number of individuals and families affected by ASD."

Wimmer, a postdoctoral fellow in the Hooker Research Group at the MGH Martinos Center, is exploring relationships between brain inflammation and brain network connectivity in individuals with autism using both positron emission tomography (PET) and MRI. In the project supported by the Autism Speaks program, "PET/MRI investigation of neuroinflammation in autism spectrum disorders," she will look for activation of brain cells known as microglia and astrocytes—and possibly identify biomarkers for one or more subtypes of autism. Her mentors include Nouchine Hadjikhani and Christopher McDougle as well as Jacob Hooker.

Congratulations to Nicole!