Ellen J. Hoffman M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the Child Study Center


Autism spectrum disorders, genetics, neurobiology


I conduct translational research aimed at understanding the biological mechanisms of autism spectrum disorders. Given the growing list of genes that are strongly associated with autism risk, my research focuses on investigating the function of these genes in brain and neural circuit development. My research uses zebrafish to study risk gene function because zebrafish have transparent embryos that enable visualization of fundamental processes of nervous system development, and they have large progenies that facilitate large-scale small molecule screens to identify compounds that reverse simple behavioral deficits. The long-term goal of my research is to identify biological pathways and novel pharmacological treatments with relevance to autism.