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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Cynthia He, 2013

Cynthia He is an immigrant from China

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

Cynthia 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 family moved to California soon after she was born. In high school she was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 141 Presidential Scholars for 2006.

As a sophomore at Stanford, Cynthia began working in a neonatology lab studying potential therapies for neonatal jaundice. The work led to the Firestone Medal, Stanford's highest honor for undergraduate research, as well as to first authorship of a paper published in the journal Pediatric Research. She graduated in 2010 in Biology with honors in Neurobiology and a minor in Music.

Cynthia is also a talented pianist. She was a soloist with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and was awarded one of Stanford's major prizes for piano performance.

Following a post-baccalaureate year of continued research, Cynthia entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to pursue an M.D. and a Ph.D in Neuroscience. For her thesis research in the laboratory of Carlos Portera-Cailliau, Cynthia used in vivo two-photon microscopy to study how cortical networks and sensory processing mechanisms develop aberrantly in Fragile X Syndrome. This research led to a first-author publication in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2017. After graduating from medical school in 2019, Cynthia plans to pursue residency training in Psychiatry. She intends on a career combining clinical work in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with neuroscience research to improve early diagnosis and intervention in neuropsychiatric disease.

  • PhD Neuroscience | University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 2017
  • BS Biological Sciences | Stanford University 2010
  • MD Medicine | University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Gold Humanism Honor Society, 2018, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • National Research Service Award (NRSA F30), 2015, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, 2010, Stanford University
  • Blew-Culley-LaFollette Prize for Piano Performance, 2010, Stanford University
  • Student Research Award, 2009, Society for Pediatric Research
  • Presidential Scholar, 2006, U.S. Department of Education
Select Publications
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
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