The Brain and Biomarker Laboratory (BABL), under the direction of Dr. Lauren Ethridge, is a multidisciplinary, translational neuroscience laboratory focusing on applications of basic science to clinical outcomes, particularly in neurodevelopmental disorders.
The BABL group centers on the use of dense-array EEG as a translational tool for learning more about brain function in neurodevelopmental disorders. The ultimate goal of our research is to establish non-invasive biological markers for changes in brain function that not only elucidate neural and molecular pathways affected by disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and but also serve as aids for early identification, early predictors for response to individualized treatment protocols, and reliable indicators of treatment effects.
Research in the lab is highly collaborative, with a large network of investigators across the country. Current research includes:
Lab member Joy Li was accepted to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program. She also is a recent recipient of the Schmidlapp Young Women Scholarship, which funds her to attend two academic conferences!
Grad student Melody Reese successfully defended her Master's thesis titled
Effects of Age, Gender, and Genotype on Auditory Processing in Phelan-McDermid Syndrome . She also presented her results at the International Society for Autism Research Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada.
Grad student Lisa De Stefano published an article in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience titled
Developmental Effects on Auditory Neural Oscillatory Synchronization Abnormalities in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Check it out here. Since we didn't have a picture of the three main contributors (Lisa, Dr. Ethridge, and Dr. Schmitt) all together, please accept this horrible photoshop of the three of us all in the same location at the Gordon Research Conference this past summer :D
Dr. Ethridge, grad students Lisa De Stefano and Nick Woodruff, and undergraduates Kara Brown (now a grad student at University of Washington) and Morgan Tran published an article in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience titled
Auditory EEG Biomarkers in Fragile X Syndrome: Clinical Relevance. Check it out here.
Lab member Jordan Norris published an article in eNeuro with her other lab titled
The TRPA1 ion channel contributes to sensory-guided avoidance of menthol in mice. This is her first publication! Jordan is an indispensible post-bac in our lab and the lab of Dr. Chris Lemon in Biology. Check out the article here.
Congratulations to grad student Nick Woodruff, who successfully defended his Master's thesis entitled
Elevated spontaneous blink rate in fragile x syndrome implicates abnormal dopaminergic activity in FXS pathophysiology.
Our graduate students had a very busy semester! Lisa and Melody proposed their dissertations, Melody passed her comps, Nick defended his Master's thesis, and Emma proposed her Master's project! On top of all the other science they are working on, of course! Go team!
BABL welcomes Jordan Norris to the doctorate program in Cellular and Behavioral Neurobiology - Psychology here at OU. Jordan has been working in our lab for several years now as a fantastic undergrad and post-bac student. Now she's decided to stay a while and we are very happy she did!
Congratulations to grad student Melody Reese for publishing her first article:
Biomarkers for moral cognition: Current status and future prospects for neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. Check out the article here.
Congratulations to our graduating seniors, Abbey Wegrzynski, Katie Shepard, Nathaniel Whisenant, and Joy Li: Abbey will be joining the lab of Dr. Kovats at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, studying the impact of sex hormones on the immune system. She hopes to attend medical school the following year. Katie was accepted to Texas Women's University for a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She hopes to ultimately work with children with Fragile X and/or autism in a school or home-health setting. Nathaniel was accepted to Pacific University for a Master's degree in Applied Psychological Science. He is interested in mental health specifically related to the LGBTQ+ community and gender. Joy will be attending medical school at the University of Cincinatti, where she previously spent a summer internship working in the Fragile X Research and Treatment Center.
Congratulations to Lisa De Stefano for successfully (and zoomily) defending her dissertation entitled
Biomarkers of ADHD and ASD: Insight into comorbid ADHD+ASD.Fantastic job Dr. De Stefano!
Dr. Ethridge, Dr. De Stefano, and new graduate student Jordan presented virtual talks this summer at the NFXF International Fragile X Conference. We won't let quarantine stop science!
Congratulations to Dr. De Stefano, who was accepted to a post-doctoral research position in the Fragile X Research and Treatment Center at Cincinatti Children's Hospital!
Undergraduate lab member Saramarie Azzun presented her research entitled
Auditory Neural Oscillation Patterns in Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder at the NSF-sponsored Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM (OK-LSAMP) conference and at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science National Conference. She won first place for oral presentations at OK-LSAMP! Woohoo!
Congratulations to Melody Reese for successfully defending her dissertation, entitled
The Self Versus Others: Spatial Localization and Timing of Trait Judgments in the MPFC and PCC/Precuneus Way to go Dr. Reese!
Congratulations to Emma Auger for successfully defending her Master's thesis, entitled
Independent Evaluation of the Harvard Automatic Processing Pipeline using Multi-Site EEG Data from Children with Fragile X Syndrome Hooray Emma!
Congratulations to Akansha Chandrasekar, Anusha Gopalam, and Jason Webb for successfully completing their Honor's thesis presentations based on work done in the lab.
Dr. Ethridge, Melody, Emma, and Jordan all presented posters at the virtual Society for Neuroscience Global Connectome
Congratulations to recent PhD graduate Dr. Melody Reese, who has accepted a prestigious postdoctoral research position at Duke University in the Department of Anesthesiology to study the translational systems neuroscience of perioperative neurocognitive disorder and its relationship to Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias. Go Melody!