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Flora Vaccarino, MD

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.

Education & Training

  • Resident
    Yale University, School of Medicine, Psychiatry (1991)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor
    FIDIA-Georgetown Institute for the Neurosciences (1987)
  • Research Fellow
    NIMH-Laboratory of Preclinical Pharmacology (1985)
  • MD
    Padua University Medical University (1979)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Elected MemberAssociation of American Physicians2024
FellowAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)2015
NARSAD Distinguished Investigator AwardNARSAD2011
Collegio dei Docenti, Dottorato di Ricerca in Neuropsicofarmacologia Clinica e SperimentaleUniversity of Messina, Italy2011
Harris Endowed ProfessorshipChild Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine2010
Executive CouncillorInternational Society for Developmental Neuroscience2008
Tourette’s Syndrome Association AwardTourette’s Syndrome Association2004
NARSAD Independent Investigator AwardNARSAD2003
Essel InvestigatorNARSAD2003
NARSAD Independent Investigator AwardNARSAD2000
Tourette’s Syndrome Association AwardTourette’s Syndrome Association1998
Professional Opportunities for Women in Research & Education AwardNational Science Foundation1997
NARSAD Young Investigator AwardNARSAD1993
Lustman AwardYale University1991
NARSAD Young Investigator AwardNational Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression1990
Rotary International Educational AwardRotary Foundation1981

Professional Service

Yale School of MedicineMember, YSM Faculty Advisory Council2015 - Present
Yale UniversityScientific Advisory, Yale Genome Editing Center2015 - Present
Yale UniversityClinical and Translational Strategic Planning Committee2015 - Present
NIHAd hoc Member, ZRG1 BDCN-C (02) Special Emphasis Panel: Brain Disorders in Animal Models and Patient Populations2014
NIHAd hoc Member, Silvio O. Conte Centers for Basic or Translational Mental Health Research Panel, NIMH2013
NIHMember, NIMH Repository & Genomics Resource (RGR) Steering Committee2013 - Present
Telethon , ItalyScientific Committee member2013 - Present
Yale UniversityHuman Embryonic Stem Cell Oversight Committee (ESCRO)2013 - Present
Journal of NeuroscienceAssociate Editor2013 - Present
Brain ResearchSenior Editor2011 - Present
Yale University School of MedicineSenior Faculty Allotment Committee2009 - 2012
International Society of Developmental NeuroscienceInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience2008 - Present
Frontiers in NeurogenesisAssociate Editor2008 - Present
Yale University School of MedicineFunds and Fellowships Committee2006 - 2009
NIHDevelopmental Brain Disorders (DBD) Study Section, NIH2005 - 2009
Yale UniversityAnimal Users Committee2004 - Present
Society for NeuroscienceMember1983 - Present

Departments & Organizations