P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Cynthia He, 2013

PhD/MD, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Cynthia He is an immigrant from China

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD/MD in Neuroscience and Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Cynthia He was born in Shanghai, China. Her parents and grandparents had been sent to rural farms for re-education during the Cultural Revolution. She and her parents moved to California soon after she was born. 

As a sophomore at Stanford, Cynthia began working in the neonatology lab of David Stevenson, studying potential therapies for neonatal jaundice. This work was published in the journal Pediatric Research and also led to the Firestone Medal, Stanford's highest honor for undergraduate research. She graduated in 2010 in Biological Sciences with honors in Neurobiology. Cynthia has been a pianist since a young age and also completed a minor in Music during college.

Cynthia completed her M.D. and Ph.D in Neuroscience in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. For her dissertation research in the laboratory of Carlos Portera-Cailliau, Cynthia studied how cortical networks and sensory processing mechanisms develop aberrantly in Fragile X Syndrome (the most common inherited form of autism). As a medical student, Cynthia served in multiple leadership roles on the Medical Student Council and Medical Education Committee.

After graduating from medical school in 2019, Cynthia began residency training in Psychiatry at UCSF. Her interests include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and developmental trajectories of psychiatric illness; as well as health systems improvement, cultural psychiatry, and narrative medicine. Her writing has been published in JAMA, Doximity, and Pulse—voices from the heart of medicine.

  • PhD Neuroscience | University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 2017
  • BS Biological Sciences | Stanford University 2010
  • MD Medicine | University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Presidential Scholar, 2006, U.S. Department of Education
  • Student Research Award, 2009, Society for Pediatric Research
  • Blew-Culley-LaFollette Prize for Piano Performance, 2010, Stanford University
  • Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, 2010, Stanford University
  • National Research Service Award (NRSA F30), 2015, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • Gold Humanism Honor Society, 2018, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Select Publications
  • He CX. “A Racial Enactment Amid COVID-Focused Anxiety and Mania.” Psychoanalytic Dialogues. 2020 30(5):634-5.
  • Cohen J*, He CX*, Leo H*, Sundaram S*, Wallace P*. “Mental illness, homelessness, and COVID-19: a call for action.” Op-Ed, San Francisco Chronicle. 2020 April 23.
  • He CX. “The Masked Asian Psychiatrist.” Pulse—voices from the heart of medicine. 2020 July 14.
  • He CX. “Seeking Equanimity Amid ‘Pager Anxiety.’” Doximity Op-Med. 2021 Mar 16.
  • He CX. “Defense Against Numbness.” Journal of the American Medical Association. 2021 325(20):2047-2048.
  • He CX, Campbell CM, Zhao H, Kalish FS, Schulz S, Vreman HJ, Wong RJ, Stevenson DK. Effects of zinc deuteroporphyrin bis glycol on newborn mice after heme loading. Pediatric Research, 2011 Nov;70(5):467-482. PMCID: PMC3189293.
  • He CX, Portera-Cailliau C. The trouble with spines in Fragile X Syndrome: density, maturity, and plasticity. Neuroscience, 2013 Oct 22;251:120-8. PMCID: PMC3422423.
  • He CX*, Arroyo ED*, Cantu DA, Goel A, Portera-Cailliau C. “A versatile method for viral transfection of calcium indicators in the neonatal mouse brain.” Frontiers in Neural Circuits. 2018 Jul 23 Epub. PMCID: PMC6064716.
  • Ricard C, Arroyo ED, He CX, Portera-Cailliau C, Lepousez G, Canepari M, Fiole D. “Two-photon probes for in vivo multicolor microscopy of the structure, connectivity and signals of brain cells.” Brain Structure and Function. 2018 May 11 Epub. PMID: 29748872.
  • He CX, Cantu DA, Mantri SA, Zeiger WA, Goel A, Portera-Cailliau C. “Tactile Defensiveness and Impaired Adaptation of Neuronal Activity in the Fmr1 Knock-Out Mouse Model of Autism.” Journal of Neuroscience. 2017 July 5;37(27):6475-87. PMCID: PMC5511879.
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New Study By Cynthia He (2013 Fellow) On Mice, Hypersensitivity, and Autism

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