Maya Evans


My research focuses on prenatal stress as a known environmental risk factor for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other psychiatric disorders. I am interested in how prenatal stress can change the typical development of the brain, and specifically the dorsal striatum. Recently, there has been increasing discussion about the role of the dorsal striatum as a node in ASD, with a change in its function thought to contribute to the restrictive, repetitive patterns of behavior characteristic of ASD. I am currently studying how prenatal stress affects both the brain and ASD-relevant motor and learning behaviors in mice. I am using immunohistochemistry to quantify D1- and D2-type medium spiny neurons in the dorsal striatum and plan to use single-cell RNA-sequencing to measure cell subtype specific changes in gene expression. In future projects, I will use pharmacological agents and conditional knockout of IGF1 to investigate striatal overgrowth as a link between prenatal stress and ASD-like behaviors.


Evans, Maya
Ankeny, IA
BA, Neuroscience, Luther College
BA, French, Luther College