J. Elliott Robinson is a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He completed his M.D. and Ph.D. in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. His doctoral dissertation work, which was co-advised by C.J. Malanga (UNC) and Markus Heilig (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), investigated how the A118G mu opioid receptor gene polymorphism moderates dopaminergic and behavioral responses to alcohol and abused opioids.
Robinson performed postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Viviana Gradinaru at the California Institute of Technology, where he studied dopaminergic circuit dysfunction in a mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) as part of a Young Investigator Award from the Children’s Tumor Foundation. These efforts utilized the genetically encoded dopamine sensor dLight1, optogenetics and novel brain-penetrant systemic adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs) to reveal visual response phenotypes in NF1 model mice. He now hopes to use systemic AAVs to develop new gene therapy strategies in NF1 and other neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as elucidate neural circuit mechanisms that influence NF1 symptomatology.