Annette Schenck, Ph.D.

Professor of Translational Genomics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Radboud University Medical Centre

SFARI Investigator

Annette Schenck is a professor and head of the Translational Genomics of Neurodevelopmental Disorder group at the Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. She obtained her Ph.D. and a ‘best thesis’ award from the University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France, for her work identifying CYFIP1/2 as a link between fragile X syndrome and actin remodeling pathways that are frequently affected in cognitive disorders. Her postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, unraveled the function of a novel endocytic organelle. In 2007, she established her research group in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Schenck’s work has pioneered the application of the fruit fly Drosophila as a model to understand the molecular basis of intellectual disability and frequently co-occurring autism spectrum disorders (ID/ASD). Her group performed the first large-scale phenotyping approaches to these disorders, unraveled numerous disease mechanisms and molecular modules underlying ID/ASD and demonstrated that cognitive deficits in ID/ASD models can be reversed in adulthood. In her Nijmegen fly-to-clinics program, she applies Drosophila to improve diagnostics, which has contributed to the identification of more than two dozen ID/ASD genes and provided evidence that Drosophila can contribute to clinical decision making. Schenck’s current interests are pharmacological, behavioral and dietary intervention projects with an emphasis on translational, patient-relevant readouts (habituation, sensory functions and sleep), as well as research into interindividual variability in the context of these readouts.

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