Susanna Mierau, MD, DPhil is a pediatric and adult neurologist on staff at the Lurie Center for Autism, a multidisciplinary program that treats children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
BiographyDr. Mierau is a neurologist and neuroscientist focused on autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. She trained as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Brain & Cognitive Sciences and as a graduate student at the University of Oxford where she received her doctorate in Neuroscience. She completed her medical training at Harvard Medical School and neurology residency program the combine program at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She now combines a research career investigating the neurobiological basis of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders with clinical care at the Lurie Center.
Dr. Mierau's neuroscience research focuses on understanding how sensory experience shapes the developing brain and how this process is disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders including Rett syndrome and some patients with autism. In her research at Oxford, she studied the role of sensory experience on the development of synapses, the connections between brain cells, in the part of the brain that responds to touch. She is now using similar techniques to investigate how synaptic function is altered in Rett syndrome, in brain region that processes vision, and to test new drugs that target the synaptic dysfunction. This research is important for understanding the regression of language, social and cognitive function in Rett syndrome and for developing new treatments.