Hi Lucas, can you tell us about your project in the Michaelson Lab?

I am working on an exciting new project called the Genetics of Twice-Exceptionality in collaboration with the Iowa Neuroscience Institute and the Belin-Blank Center. Twice-exceptionality means being gifted and having a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. We are using a holistic data approach to figure out the biology behind giftedness and twice-exceptionality. This is a really exciting project because the gifted and twice-exceptional groups have been really underrepresented in research.

How do you think findings from the 2e study could influence the way we think about education?

A recent study of all Iowa school districts showed 9.2% of all Iowa’s students are gifted, which includes twice-exceptional (2e) students. However, 2e students are much less likely to be placed in a talented and gifted program due to their accompanying conditions like Autism and ADHD, or to not have their neurodevelopmental condition properly diagnosed due to their giftedness covering it up. These students are just as gifted but due to their twice-exceptionality are not being able to reach their full potential. If we have a way to quantify their gifted traits or Autism with something like genetics, we can help these students reach their full potential by making the identification process much easier and addressing specific strengths/needs.

What brought you to the Michaelson Lab?

I was looking for a research job after I graduated and stumbled across an ad for this lab. I had known I wanted to pursue neuroscience and genetics in graduate school but I did not have any genetics experience. I was ecstatic when I was offered the position because I knew of this lab’s research prowess in computational psychiatry, this lab is the perfect place to learn and fine tune my own personal research interests for my future career.

What are two truths and a lie about you?

  1. I lived in the Philippines
  2. I cannot whistle or snap
  3. I speak 2 languages

The answer may shock you!





(3 is a lie)