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  • Principal Investigator

    Harris Professor in the Child Study Center; Director, Program in Neurodevelopment and Regeneration, Child Study Center; Professor in the Department of Neuroscience

    Flora Vaccarino is the Harris Professor at the Child Study Center and Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Yale University. She received her MD from the University of Padova in Italy. She spent few years as Neuropharmacology Fellow at NIH, trained in clinical psychiatry at Yale, and then was a Research Fellow in developmental genetics at the Yale School of Medicine, where she raised through the ranks to Assistant, Associate and full Professor. Vaccarino leads a multidisciplinary research group working towards new directions for the study of mammalian brain development, particularly human, using stem cell biology and genomics as tools. She has been studying brain development in animal models for over 20 years, focusing on the role of growth factor receptor signaling in the regulation of stem cell behavior and cerebral cortex morphogenesis. Inspired by Sasai’s work, Vaccarino and her lab pioneered the generation of 3D brain organoids from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in 2012, and showed that they recapitulate early fetal development of the human cerebral cortex. They then performed an extensive comparison of the organoid’s transcriptome and noncoding elements with isogenic postmortem human fetal cortex and characterized gene regulatory mechanisms that shape the earliest cell fate decisions in human cortical development. Her lab has generated an extensive collection of patient-derived iPSC lines to study altered gene regulatory mechanisms in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her interests include human somatic genomic variation as a tool to study lineage specification in human embryonic development. She was one of the fiunding members of the Brain Somatic Mosaicism Network (BSMN), a multi-site consortium that studied somatic mosaicism and its implication for neuropsychiatric diseases. Vaccarino is a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the PsychENCODE the Somatic Mosaicism across Human Tissues ( SMaHT) Consortia.


  • Associate Research Scientist in the Child Study Center

    Associate Research Scientist in the laboratory of Flora Vaccarino at Yale, Alexandre studies brain development and Autism Spectrum Disorder in vitro using induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) and single-cell Omics. He obtained his PhD in Paris, working in the laboratory of Patrick Charnay in the Biological Institute of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), and has a MSc in Neuroscience (Paris University UPMC) and a Bioingeneering Degree from INSA (Lyon, France). Alex interests revolve around developmental neuroscience, stem cells biology and single-cell omics. He worked on adult neurogenesis in mice, cortical development in iPSCs and regulatory networks derived from omics data.
  • Associate Research Scientist - Child Study Center

    Soraya Scuderi is an Associate Research Scientist in the Vaccarino Lab - Yale University . She earned her BS and MS in Cellular and Molecular Biology and her PhD in Neuropharmacology from the University of Catania, Italy. She completed postdoctoral training at Yale Child Study Center where she started using iPSC derived organoid's technology to model brain development. The challenge of treating human brain disorders lies in the complexity of the nervous system formation. Scuderi's research focuses on understanding specification of brain regions and deciphering transcriptomic and molecular networks underlying those processes by using neural organoids. She is part of the Brain Initiative project “Engineering of organoid-based brain circuits" PIs Prof. F. Vaccarino and Prof. A. Levchenko.