Deb Karhson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Years in Lab: 2014 - present

I completed my undergraduate training at Drexel University in biomedical engineering with a concentration in tissue engineering and biomaterials. During my undergraduate studies, I explored academic and pharmaceutical research through co-op experiences, where I was particularly interested in neuroscience and its application to the study of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As a younger sibling of someone on the autism spectrum I had an early interest in the brain and following my co-op experiences, I pursued a PhD in Neuroscience at Tulane University as a Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholar. In my doctoral studies, I trained in electroencephalography (EEG) technique and transcranial magnetic stimulation to study auditory attention in neurotypical and non-neurotypical populations from cognitive and neurobiological perspectives. My dissertation research used EEG to examine the effect of atypical sensory reactivity in adults with ASD on auditory attention in dynamic perceptual environments. I am most interested in understanding the mechanisms that underlie cognitive and social functioning heterogeneity in ASD and how best to improve ASD quality of life through leveraging these innate differences. To better do so, I am extending my training through an NIH T32 postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford. My postdoctoral research is focused on understanding the role of neuromodulators (e.g., neuropeptide and CNS lipids) in social and cognitive functioning in children with and without ASD, their role as biomarkers of ASD, and how these neuromodulators of interest can be clinically utilized.

Awards and Accomplishments: 

  • Stanford University Mass Spectrometry Seed Grant Program – LC-MS/MS method development of quantification of endocannabinoids in clinical plasma samples (Fall 2015)
  • International Meeting For Autism Research (IMFAR) Conference Diversity Travel Award (Spring 2014)
  • Jean Yocum Harlan Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation at Tulane University Neuroscience Doctoral Program  – 1st place (Spring 2012, Spring 2013)
  • Board of Regents/Southern Regional Education Board Diversity Doctoral Fellowship at Tulane University, Neuroscience Program (Fall 2009)
  • IBM Fellowship Center for Computational Science, Tulane University (Fall 2009)