University of Alabama at Birmingham neuroscientist Summer Thyme, PhD is a recipient of the Director’s New Innovator award from the National Institutes of Health. The award is part of the NIH High-Risk, High-Reward Research program which supports investigators at each career stage who propose innovative research that, due to its inherent risk, may struggle in the traditional NIH peer-review process despite its transformative potential.
In her research, Thyme is developing new methods for dissecting the genetic underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disease. She does this by studying zebrafish, which share more than 70 percent of their genes with humans. Their genome has been completely sequenced, and their brains are transparent and have architecture and cell types similar to those of mammals. This transparency enables visualization of brain development and neural activity.