Neurobiologist receives high honor from National Fragile X Foundation

Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
May 20, 2022

Neurobiologist Anubhuti Goel, an assistant professor of psychology, has received a Junior Investigator Award for 2022 from the National Fragile X Foundation, or NFXF. Goel, who joined UCR in 2019, is one of only 10 researchers to be honored with the award this year.

The award will allow Goel to present her research at the NFXF International Fragile X Conference in mid-July in San Diego. Besides attending the conference at no charge, Goel will have the opportunity to write a summary of a research presentation assigned to her by the NFXF.

Anubhuti Goel
Anubhuti Goel.

One of Goel’s research projects uses a mouse model to study hypersensitivity to distractors — such as noise and other sensory input — in Fragile X syndrome, or FXS. FXS, a leading genetic cause of autism, affects around one in 4,000 males and one in 6,000 females. Its symptoms include increased anxiety, intellectual disability, repetitive behaviors, social communication deficits, and abnormal sensory processing. 

“Sensory hypersensitivity, an extremely prominent and disabling feature of Fragile X syndrome, often limits social interactions, delays learning, and impedes daily functioning,” said Goel, an expert on how the brain processes sensory stimuli. “My lab is working on uncovering the neural deficits that contribute to sensory hypersensitivity and distractibility, which could pave the way for targeted therapeutic strategies.”

Goel received her doctoral degree from the University of Maryland in 2008. Before joining UCR she was at UCLA. A recipient of the STAT Wunderkinds Award in Biomedical Science in 2017, she gave the Arnold Scheibel Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience Lecture at UCLA that year. She recently received a young investigator grant from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation to study circuit mechanisms of sensory hypersensitivity associated with FXS.