Barb Bailus, PhD
With the introduction of the newest AS animal model, the FAST funded LEGEND-rat, it was time to add “rat whisperer” Dr. Jill Silverman to the SAB. This new rat model, which was described in detail at the 2018 FAST gala, was behaviorally characterized by Dr. Jill Silverman, Dr. Ed Weeber and Dr. Anne Anderson. Dr. Silverman is a member of the FAST FIRE team. Dr. Silverman was able to describe and test multiple new behavioral tasks, especially those centered on communication, learning and memory, which are far less robust in the mouse models. One of these new tests involved the rat being able to recognize different pictures and be rewarded for correctly recognizing the picture even as the placement of it changed. This is far more translatable to the human AS patient who often use picture symbols to communicate.
Dr. Silverman received her PhD from University of Maryland, School of Medicine. Upon completion of her PhD, Dr. Silverman was recruited by one of the leading rodent behavioral scientists, Dr. Jacqueline Crawley at NIH in Maryland. In 2012, Dr. Silverman moved to sunny California to join the University of California Davis MIND Institute, where she serves as an expert in evaluating autism rodent models. She also enjoys training the next generation of behavioral scientists and sharing her science with the public.
written by Barb Bailus, PhD