Dr Colleen O'Ryan

Neurogenetics and Autism Spectrum Disorder Researcher, Department of Molecular & Cell Biology

Research Interests

My research focuses on epigenetics, gene expression and molecular mechanisms of autism spectrum conditions (ASC) in South African populations. Much ASC research is done in the global North with African populations under-represented although they have greater genetic diversity. My group identified genes implicated in mitochondrial pathways associated with ASC, suggesting that mitochondrial function is important in autism. We are examining how mitochondrial dysfunction affects neurological function using a variety of methods in both autistic children and neuronal cell culture models. Unravelling these biological relationships can contribute to understanding the complex aetiology of autism.

Research Areas

Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience • Neurogenetics