August Featured CHOP Postdoc


The August Featured CHOP Postdoc is Carolyn M. Yrigollen, PhD. Carolyn is originally from Madera, California, and she received her PhD from the University of California, Davis. Currently, Carolyn works under the mentorship of Beverly Davidson, PhD.

At CHOP, Carolyn is developing gene therapies for the neurological disorders that are caused by a mutation in the Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 gene (FMR1). She is currently working on several projects that will contribute to this goal. She is assessing CRISPR gene-editing of the mutation in vitro in patient derived cell lines and in vivo using a mouse model of Fragile X-associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS). She is also characterizing transgenic zebrafish she made to see if they model the epigenetic features of another FMR1 disorder, Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). There is currently not a model organism that mimics the epigenetic modifications we see in humans with a full mutation. If these transgenic zebrafish model the epigenetic silencing that occurs in the presence of the full mutation, she will use them to assess CRISPR gene editing in vivo. CRISPR mediated gene-editing is a very exciting area of research, and these projects will help answer important questions of its therapeutic potential of Fragile X associated disorders.

Carolyn aspires to lead a translational research team focused on using the tools, knowledge, and expertise available to find therapeutic interventions for neurological disorders.

Carolyn's biggest accomplishments at CHOP so far have been receiving the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Program award, and the UPenn Academic Diversity Fellowship. These awards have supported her training by allowing her to pursue higher risk research projects and unique career development opportunities.

To relax and relieve stress, Carolyn enjoys arts and crafts. She also has an adorable Jack Russel Terrier named Oliver who helps her balance her stress by being funny and insisting on many walks. The last book she read was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Carolyn's favorite song right now is Stop This Train by John Mayer. Her favorite TV show is Mad Money with Jim Cramer. If there was any place in the world she could go, Carolyn would travel to the Amazon rain forest.

When asked why Carolyn would like to connect or collaborate with other CHOP postdocs, she replied:

"I would like to connect and collaborate with other CHOP postdocs because it will benefit my research objectives now and in the future, as I build a network with intelligent, creative, and diligent peers that I can turn to for advice and support. I also want to contribute this support to my fellow postdoc's networks and be a resource for them. "