Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Cheryl Gatto, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Contact Info

(615) 936-6761


6214 MRB III or 6274 MRB III

Cheryl Gatto, Ph.D.


As a basic research scientist, Dr. Gatto is interested in examining how altered cytologic architecture and connectivity result in disease. As such, her current research has focused on Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), which is caused by the loss of function in a single gene, FMR1, and is the most common heritable determinant of intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders. With recent estimates suggesting incidences as high as 1:2,500, FXS stands as a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder requiring focused therapeutic development. Using the power of Drosophila genetics to model this condition, Dr. Gatto seeks to examine the altered neuronal circuitry, synaptic dysgenesis, and impaired functionality underlying behavioral consequences in FXS. With clinical presentations that often include delayed and depressed developmental trajectories, deficits in short-term working memory, disordered sleep, and seizures, these findings will help enlighten the search for effective treatment options and modalities aimed at ameliorating the challenging symptoms associated with this complex syndrome.


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