Dr. Shafali Jeste honored with Presidential Early Career Award

July 12, 2019

UCLA CART scientist, Dr. Shafali Jeste, is recipient of the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for her “exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.”

The PECASE is the federal government’s highest honor recognizing scientists for their contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. It also recognizes community service as demonstrated by scientific leadership, public education and community outreach.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates the awards with participating departments and agencies. The awards ceremony is July 25 in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jeste is a pediatric neurologist and an associate professor of psychiatry, neurology and pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Her research is focused on developing more precise methods for early prediction and diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, using biomarkers and other genetic information, with the ultimate goal of improving the timing and targets of treatments for these conditions.

She has designed studies to aid in the early prediction of autism, including autism related to the genetic disorders tuberous sclerosis complex and Dup15q syndrome. Her work in tuberous sclerosis complex led to the first randomized controlled clinical trial of behavioral intervention in infants who are likely to develop autism due to TSC.

Jeste, who also is the founder and director of the UCLA Care and Research in Neurogenetics (CARING) Clinic and a principal investigator at the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment, is the principal investigator for several current studies, including a multi-site National Institutes of Health-funded study focused on identifying brain biomarkers, genetic risk factors and early intervention in autism.