James Stafford is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at New York University School of Medicine. He began his studies at Eastern Oregon University as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) with Prof. K. Matthew Lattal, where he focused on behavioral approaches to psychiatric disease-associated learning and memory processes. He also participated in an entrepreneurship program at the University of Portland, which led to the co-founding a small biotech company dedicated to improving drug discovery in challenging diseases such as cancer and psychiatric disorders. Later, with Damien Fair and an interdisciplinary team at OHSU, he began developing tools to map whole-brain neural networks in rodent neuropsychiatric disease models.
In his current post-doctoral fellowship with Prof. Danny Reinberg at New York University, Stafford is applying biochemistry and molecular biology approaches to interrogate the molecular pathology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Specifically, he is focused on understanding how disruptions in a single gene, AUTS2, lead to ASD, developmental delay, and other phenotypes.
Stafford’s work has earned numerous awards, including the Ginger Ashworth Graduate Training Award and the American Psychological Association Dissertation Award. Prior to being a Simons Foundation Junior Fellow, he was a Vertex Pharmaceutical Scholar and was supported by individual pre- and post-doctoral National Research Service Awards from the National Institutes of Health.