Dr. Holly Fitch – IBACS Keynote Speaker

Auditory processes in genetically engineered mouse models: Implications for human language

R. Holly Fitch & Peter Perrino (BNS, Dept. of Psychological Sciences; IBACS; NBL; SLAC)

Basic research on human language and disorders of language has been historically limited by a dearth of suitable rodent models. While the use of genetically engineered rodents has recently led to exciting advancements in the understanding of gene-behavior associations in disorders like schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression, comparable insights into language-specific disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, specific language impairment) are lacking.

In this talk I will present background data on our use of genetically engineered mouse models to effectively capture intermediate phenotypes relevant to language, specifically using mice with mutations in dyslexia and ASD-risk genes.

In the second half of the talk I will focus on our results from a mouse model of Usher Syndrome. This knock-out model revealed an unexpected subtle auditory processing phenotype in the heterozygous carrier state that may relate to subtle disruptions in language in affected humans.

Findings will dovetail into a subsequent talk by Dr. Dianne Newbury (Wed May 9, 2018), in which she will discuss how gene-behavior insight from sources including basic rodent research can inform epidemiological and clinical study of the relationships between neurodevelopment traits in humans.



Learn more about Dr. Fitch’s work.