Susanna Mierau, M.D., Ph.D.

Physician Investigator (Cl)
Lurie Center for Autism, Mass General Research Institute
Principal Investigator, Department of Neurology
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Associate Neurologist, Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Assistant In Neurology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
Bachelor of Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2000
MD Harvard Medical School 2007
PhD 2004
autism spectrum disorder; brain development; brain networks; child development disorders pervasive; childhood development; cognition disorders; computational modeling; computational neurosciences; cortical dynamics; cortical excitability; cortical models; cortical plasticity; cortical pyramidal neurons; developmental disabilities; electrophysiology; excitatory postsynaptic potentials; inhibitory postsynaptic potentials; interneurons; neural networks; neurodevelopmental disorders; neuropharmacology; neurophysiology; organoid platforms; rett syndrome; sensation; single-cell rna-seq; social cognition; synapses; synaptic defects; synaptic plasticity; synaptic transmission
I am a neuroscientist-neurologist specialized in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related neurodevelopmental disorders.   I provide clinical care for adults and children with ASD at the MGH Lurie Center for Autism and for adults with cognitive disorders at the BWH Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Clinic. 

I serve as a Principal Investigator leading research on how cortical networks form during early postnatal development and how this process is disrupted by the genetic change that causes Rett syndrome and some forms of ASD. In 2018, I started my own independent research group at the University of Cambridge focused on synaptic and network maturation in cortical circuits during early postnatal development and how this process is disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders including Rett syndrome and ASD. We have expanded our work with cellular scale networks from Mecp2-deficient mice to include recording network activity from human cerebral organoids. Our ultimate goal is to identify new targets for circuit-based pharmacologic therapies for Rett syndrome and genetic causes of ASD. In March 2021, I joined the BWH Neurology Department as a research (80% effort) and clinical (20%) faculty member. At BWH we will translate our approach for studying neuronal networks at the cellular scale in mouse models to human-derived 2D cortical culture and 3D human cerebral organoid models of ASD. Our goal is to understand how cell-type specific synaptic defects in genetic causes of ASD and Rett syndrome disrupt cortical processing at the cellular scale and to use network function in the human-derived cultures to test new therapeutic strategies for improving cognitive function.