News & Events

Parker Lab featured in SPECTRUM'S notable papers in autism research list for the second year in a row

Each year, SPECTRUM News publishes a top 10 list of the most notable papers in autism research. The paper entitled: "Arginine vasopressin in cerebrospinal fluid is a marker of sociality in nonhuman primates" was featured for its novel approach to studying sociality in a cohort of naturally-occurring low-social and high-social primates. Parker lab researchers found that the neuropeptide arginine vasopressin (AVP) was a key marker of social impairments when measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and that low-social primates had lower levels of CSF AVP as compared to high-social primates. The study translated these findings to a small cohort of pediatric patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and found that CSF AVP concentrations were lower in children with ASD compared to their age-matched counterparts. SPECTRUM notes that this study raises the question: "Could increasing vasopressin levels boost sociability in people with autism?"

December 21st, 2018

Jesus Madrid defends his dissertation

Dr. Madrid completed his degree in the Stanford Neurosciences Ph.D. Program on November 28th, 2018. He is headed for postdoctoral training at Cornell University in Dr. Alex Ophir's laboratory.

November 28th, 2018

Dr. Özge Öztan interviewed by Spectrum News at the 2018 Society for Neuroscience meeting

Dr. Öztan recently attended the 2018 annual Society for Neuroscience meeting, and was interviewed by Spectrum News regarding current research in the Parker Lab. Dr. Öztan presented findings that indicate the neuropeptide arginine vasopressin as a promising biomarker of social impairments in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

November 3rd-7th, 2018

Dr. Parker served on the planning committee and spoke at The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Nonhuman Primates workshop, “Transgenic and Chimeric Neuroscience Research: Exploring Scientific Opportunities Afforded by New Nonhuman Primate Models”

This workshop brought together international experts and key stakeholders from academia, government, industry, and non-profit organizations to examine the scientific opportunities and challenges, as well as bioethical considerations, of genetically engineered nonhuman primate models for neuroscience research.

Dr. Parker was an invited speaker at the NIH ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 Workshop 2

President Obama launched the BRAIN Initiative to “accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.” In response to this Grand Challenge, the NIH convened a working group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director to develop a rigorous plan for achieving this scientific vision. To achieve these goals, the BRAIN Initiative developed a ten-year plan, with a primary focus on technology development in the first five years, shifting in the second five years to a primary focus on integrating technologies to make fundamental new discoveries about the brain. With these considerations in mind, the working group has consulted extensively with the scientific community to evaluate challenges and opportunities in the field through various scientific workshops. Dr. Parker was invited to speak at the 2018 Workshop 2, “Revolutionizing Circuit-to-Behavior Analyses”.

September 21st, 2018

Dr. Ozge Oztan receives Travel Award from the Molecular Psychiatry Association

Dr. Oztan was awarded The Young Investigator Travel Award from the Molecular Psychiatry Association to fund her attendance at The 6th Annual Molecular Psychiatry Meeting in Kauai, Hawaii. The goal of the annual meeting is to promote research and communication of research findings that may lead to a better understanding of the molecular basis of psychiatric disorders.

September 27th-29th, 2018

Dr. Karen Parker attends the 2018 BrainMind Summit as an Invited Speaker

Dr. Parker recently attended The BrainMind Summit as an invited speaker. The Summit convened the world’s thought leaders in neuroscience as well as founders of top venture capital funds and technology companies with the goal of bringing brain science to the world at scale.

September 8th-9th, 2018

Dr. Deb Karhson awarded 2nd place in the 2018 Lasker Essay Contest

This year's Lasker Essay Contest challenged scientists to examine how social media can help build trust in science and research. Dr. Karhson's essay, entitled "A Verification Vaccine for Social Contagion", explores scientific communication through social media verification. 

June 27th, 2018

Michael Mariscal graduates from Stanford University

Michael Mariscal graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in Human Biology with honors and was awarded the Oral Communication Program Award for Excellence in Honors Presentations and in Human Biology. Michael is continuing his autism research career as a Clinical Research Assistant at Harvard Medical School before applying to graduate school.

June 17th, 2018

Dr. Parker's research program was profiled by OZY for Autism Awareness Day 2018

April 2nd, 2018

Parker Lab featured in SPECTRUM's 2017 notable papers in autism research

Each year, Spectrum News asks autism researchers to weigh in on the most notable studies of the year that have changed the way we think about autism. This year, the Parker Lab was featured for the paper entitled: "Intranasal oxytocin treatment for social deficits and biomarkers of response in children with autism". In this clinical trial, Parker Lab researchers tested the efficacy and tolerability of intranasal oxytocin to enhance social abilities in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  This study found that oxytocin administration improved social functioning, especially in children with the lowest pre-treatment oxytocin levels. These findings provide support that intranasal oxytocin may be a promising treatment to ameliorate social deficits in ASD. 

December 22nd, 2017

Jesus Madrid awarded DARE doctoral fellowship

The DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) Doctoral Fellowship Program awards two-year fellowships to advanced doctoral students who want to investigate and prepare for academic careers and whose presence will help diversify the professoriate.

August 20th, 2016

Michael Mariscal presents summer research at the undergraduate HBREX poster symposium

Michael Mariscal presented his ongoing summer research investigating the effect of intranasal oxytocin on contagious laughing and yawning in children with autism. Michael was one of thirty undergraduate students who participated in the Human Biology Research Exploration Program (HB-REX), a competitive mentored research program sponsored by the Department of Human Biology.

August 10th, 2016

Scope's Q&A with Dr. Parker

Scope, a blog produced by the Stanford University School of Medicine, interviewed Dr. Parker about studying potential biomarkers and treatments for autism. In the interview, she talks about her recent findings that suggest oxytocin and vasopressin may be implicated in autism. She also talks about how she became an autism researcher and future directions of the lab.

May 19th, 2016

Dr. Parker participates in the OARC & NIMH neurodevelopmental disorders workshop

Dr. Parker discusses her research on the biological underpinnings of ASD at the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) and NIMH's Loss of Skills and Onset Patterns in Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Understanding the Neurobiological Mechanisms workshop. The workshop focused on the state of the science with regard to onset patterns in ASD and related disorders, including developmental regression, and the biological mechanisms that may account for these onset patterns.

February 19th, 2016

Dr. Parker named Kavli Fellow

The Kavli program honors scientific leaders under 45 years of age who have made significant contributions to their scientific field.

January 2016

Dr. Parker named Associate Member of ACNP

Dr. Parker was named an Associate Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). The core purpose of the ACNP is to advance scientific understanding of and to facilitate communication about disorders of the brain and behavior in order to further their prevention and treatment. ACNP consists of leading brain scientists and membership is by election. 

January 2016

Jesus Madrid passes Ph.D. qualifying examination

Jesus successfully presented his Ph.D. proposal entitled, "Social and biological outcomes of neonatal imitation in mother-reared rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)" to his thesis advisory committee.


September 14th, 2015

Dr. Parker & collaborators awarded a Stanford Neurosciences Institute Seed Grant

Dr. Parker, in collaboration with Dr. Alexander Urban, Dr. Megan Albertelli, and Dr. Joachim Hallmayer, was awarded a $200,000 SNI Seed Grant. Together, they will create an advanced transgenic animal model of autism. Future development of this model will seek to accelerate the discovery of autism biomarkers and novel drug targets, and streamline the development of the first effective medications to improve social functioning in people with autism.

August 27th, 2015

Dr. Parker served on the planning committe and as a workshop member for the NICHD Oxytocin in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities workshop

This workshop focused on the state of science with regard to oxytocin as a biomarker of and therapeutic for autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders.

August 2015

Dr. Karen Parker and Dr. Deb Karhson awarded SUMS seed grant

Dr. Karhson will be utilizing the SUMS grant to investigate the potential of mass spectrometry to measure neuromodulatory lipids and neuropeptides in cerebrospinal fluid and blood samples.

August 21st, 2015

Dr. Parker awarded a Simons Foundation grant

Dr. Parker received a SFARI Research Award (entitled "Detecting and Treating Social Impairments in a Monkey Model") to continue to develop her primate model of naturally occurring social impairments. 

August 1st, 2015

New research study on vasopressin levels and social deficits published in PLOS ONE

This report found that blood vasopressin concentrations can be used both as a surrogate for brain vasopressin activity in humans and as a robust biomarker of theory of mind ability in children with autism. These findings suggest that the vasopressin signaling pathway may be a promising therapeutic target by which to improve social cognition in individuals with autism. The full article can be found here.

July 22nd, 2015

Dr. Parker awarded George A. Miller Award for the most outstanding article in general psychology

This annual award recognizes the most outstanding article in general psychology. Dr. Parker received this award along with Drs. Gregory Miller and Edith Chen for their article published in Psychological Bulletin titled, “Psychological stress in childhood and susceptibility to the chronic diseases of aging: Moving toward a model of behavioral and biological mechanisms.”

June 2015

Lisa and Raena graduate from Stanford with Honors

Lisa Jackson and Raena Sumiyoshi graduated from Stanford with bachelor's degrees with honors in Human Biology. In addition, Lisa was awarded the Bernard and Estelle Shuer Award for Outstanding Neuroscience Research in Human Biology and Raena was awarded the Center for Teaching & Learning Award for Excellence in Honors Presentations in Human Biology.

June 14th, 2015

Dr. Özge Öztan's findings from the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting covered by Spectrum News.

Dr. Öztan presented data from her study investigating CSF and blood biomarkers of impaired social functioning in a rhesus monkey model of autism.

November 17th, 2014

Simons Foundation's Q&A with Dr. Parker

The Simons Foundation's interviewed Dr. Parker about studying social behavior in rhesus monkeys. In the interview, she talks about why we are using rhesus monkeys as an animal model for humans with autism, how we are measuring social functioning, and what implications this research will have for individuals with autism.

November 4th, 2014

Dr. Özge Öztan receives CHRI Postdoctoral Award

Dr. Özge Öztan received a Stanford Child Health Research Institute (CHRI) Postdoctoral Support Program Award.


June 1st, 2014