Towards Understanding the Role of FMRP in Human Brain Development Using Brain Organoids

FRAXA Seminar Series

This virtual seminar series addresses a wide range of current topics in Fragile X research. Hosted by FRAXA and organized by Michael Tranfaglia, MD and Patricia Cogram, PhD, sessions feature outstanding speakers from universities and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. 

Presentation Summary

Dr. Jin will discuss why they chose to use brain organoids to study the function of FMRP. Dr. Zhexing will then introduce their organoid system and describe the phenotypes associated with Fragile X organoids. Finally, Dr. Jin will present their molecular analyses of FMRP mRNA targets in humans as well as future direction for the newly funded Fragile X Center of Excellence at Emory University School of Medicine.

Zhexing Wen, PhD

Associate Director of Psychiatric, Genetics and Epigenetics Core
Emory University School of Medicine


Dr. Zhexing Wen received his PhD at Rutgers University in 2008. In 2009, he joined Drs. Hongjun Song and Guo-li Ming’s laboratories at Johns Hopkins University as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2016, Dr. Wen joined the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University as an Assistant Professor, focusing on using human induced pluripotent stem cell models to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Wen also serves as the Associate Director of Emory Psychiatric Genetics and Epigenetics Core, since 2016. He has received numerous awards including Molecular Psychiatry Association Young Investigator Travel Awards (2014), Johns Hopkins Helen B. Taussig Young Investigators Award (2015), NIH NCATS Director’s Award (2017), Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation Grant Award (2017), Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing Grant Award (2017), and the Emory IMAGINE, INNOVATE, AND IMPACT Research Award (2019).

Peng Jin, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Human Genetics
Emory University School of Medicine


Career summary prior to present position: Assistant Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, 2004-2010; Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, 2010-2013.

Honors and Awards: Finalists for Outstanding Postdoctoral Research Award in the American Society of Human Genetics, 2000, 2003; Beckman Young Investigator Award, 2005; Basil O’Connor Scholar Research Award, 2006; Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 2006-2008; Simons Investigator, 2011-2015; NARSAD Independent Investigator Award, 2013; Suzanne and John Golden Investigator, 2014; Cheung Kong Scholar Award, 2016; NINDS Research Program Award (R35), 2019; Highly Cited Research by Web of Science, 2019.

Government and Public Service: Trans NIH Fragile X Research Coordinating Group (FXTAS, Chair, 2007, 2012, 2018); Association of Chinese Geneticists in America (Board Member 2008-present, President 2015-2017); Organizers of Keystone meetings, Winter Conference on Brain Research and other international conferences; Arnold O. Beckman Foundation Review Committee (2015-present); Numerous review panels for NIH (CSR, NIMH, NICHD, NINDS, NIEHS and NIA), CDC, DOD, VA, and National Ataxia Foundation; Member of RNA Mechanism in Cancer Study Section, American Cancer Society; Reviews for Wellcome Trust, UK MRC, Hong Kong, Netherlands Genomics Initiative, National Science Foundation of China, Israel Science Foundation New Zealand HRC, American Society of Human Genetics Government & Public Advocacy Committee (2020-2022).

Editorial Boards (alphabetical order): Frontiers in Neurogenesis; Frontiers in Non-coding RNAs; Journal of Genetics and Genomics; PLoS Genetics; Neuroscience Next.

Research Interests: Unstable Repeat Expansion, Neuroepigenetics, Noncoding RNAs, Genetic Determinants of Neurodevelopmental and Neurodegenerative Disorders, Animal Models of Human Diseases; Treatment of Genetic Disorders, Autism, Fragile X Syndrome, Fragile X Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome, Fragile X-associated Primary Ovarian Insufficiency, Toxic RNA Disorders.