Siavash Fazel Darbandi

Dr. Siavash Fazel Darbandi

Title
Postdoctoral Scholar

Education
PhD, Neuroscience, University of Ottawa, Canada
Msc, Molecular Biology, University of Winnipeg, Canada
BS, Biology, University of Winnipeg, Canada

About Siavash's Research
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. ASD has a strong genetic basis, but the genetics are complex and it is unclear whether it is explained more by rare mutations, or by rare combinations of common genetic variants. It has long been presumed that there is a common cause at the genetic, cognitive, and neural levels for autism's characteristic triad of symptoms. However, there is increasing suspicion that ASD is instead a complex disorder whose core aspects have distinct causes that often co-occur. Therefore, as a part of my postdoctoral project in Dr. State and Dr. Rubenstein's Labs, I am interested in understanding and investigating the transcriptional network downstream of Tbr1, a gene that has been shown to be associated with ASD, in order to understand the potential mechanisms underlying ASD. Before coming to UCSF, I completed my doctoral studies at the University of Ottawa (Canada) in developmental neuroscience, where I investigated the functional analysis of Dlx intergenic enhancers in the developing mouse forebrain.