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M.D./ Ph.D. Student Mariam Ishaque Researches Autism

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Author: Charlotte Anthony | Category: Meet The Researcher | M.D./Ph.D. | Radiological Sciences (Ph.D.) | July 29, 2015

Mariam Ishaque is a dual degree student in the M.D./ Ph.D. program. She is currently working with Dr. Peter Fox to investigate structural and functional neural networks in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

“We are using advanced neuroimaging methods to build a network model that reflects consistent abnormalities in ASD,” Ishaque said. “As of now, there is no reliable, objective way to diagnose ASD, especially in infants and toddlers. We believe that our methods could result in an imaging-based signature of ASD for diagnostic use in young children.”

Ishaque is passionate about her work because she believes that it could be extremely impactful in terms of an earlier diagnosis of autism.

“If our method works, it could result in earlier implementation and greater potential efficacy of treatment,” Ishaque said. “Autistic children could lead much higher quality, or even normal, lives.”

Ishaque was recently selected along with Elizabeth FucichTravis Block, and Huynh (Nancy) Nga for the prestigious Translational Science Training (TST) TL1 Scholar Award, from the UTHSCSA’s Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS).

“The TST program directly aligns with my own personal short and long-term goals,” Ishaque said. “The particularly translational potential of my research significantly contributes to my fervor for this work.”

Ishaque’s passion for neuroscience and imaging has led her to pursue a career as a neurologist/neuroscientist.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the brain; I believe there is so much left to learn about it. Given this interest and my background in physics, neuroimaging was a clear choice.”

She plans on using the award to attend the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) meeting and the Frontiers in Translation Science Research Day.

“These will be great opportunities to present my research and further learn about a career in translational science.”

This article is part of the "Meet The Researcher" series which showcases researchers at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. 

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