The central theme of Sophie Molholm’s research is a translational one, applying methods and knowledge from her work in basic research to derive better understanding of the neurobiological bases of brain disorders. She uses psychophysics and electrophysiology in conjunction with cutting-edge analytical tools to probe basic perceptual and cognitive function in healthy adults, the development of these processes over childhood and how differences in perceptual and cognitive processing contribute to neurodevelopmental conditions, with a focus on autism.
Her lab was one of the first to show that multisensory integration is affected in autism, a finding that she and her colleagues have substantiated for both social and non-social stimuli and that has been replicated by many other groups now, including using very different paradigms. This has led Molholm to focus on the integrity of neuro-oscillatory processes, which are critical to intact communication within and across neural networks, and thus may contribute to network dependent processing and, more critically, may provide a biomarker of network level neural impairment in autism.
In addition to her work in autism, Molholm has a particular interest in rare genetic conditions due to their potential to provide insight into the neurobiological pathways underlying more common idiopathic conditions. These include Rett Syndrome, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, KDM5C missense mutation syndrome and ANKS1B haploinsufficiency syndrome.