Flora Tassone, Ph.D.
Research Professor In-Residence
MIND Wet Lab
Sacramento Campus
Ph: 530-754-7268

Dr. Flora Tassone received her B.S. degree in biology from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and her Ph.D. from the University of Rome UCSC in 1992. She is a research biochemist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and a MIND Institute investigator at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine. She is a molecular geneticist with a specialty in transcriptional and translational regulation of the fragile X (FMR1) gene. Dr. Tassone has made a number of important observations related to the mechanism of gene expression of the FMR1 gene, especially regarding the effects of premutation alleles on individuals the scientific community thought to be clinically unaffected. Specifically, she investigated the clinical manifestations, protein and FMR1 mRNA expression in individuals with fragile X syndrome and made the important discovery of gene dysregulation (increased activity) among premutation carriers. This discovery provided a molecular basis for the forms of clinical involvement among carriers, including fragile X- associated tremor ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). She continues to work on the molecular basis and abnormal molecular phenotype observed in individuals with FXTAS. Dr. Tassone is the director of the Molecular Core of a Fragile X project and she is the PI on a pilot study on Newborn Screening in Fragile X syndrome, funded by the NIH, the first of its kind in United States. Her laboratory provides the molecular support to a number of projects at the MIND Institute, as well as at the University of California, Davis. Her research also focuses on a number of other neurodevelopmental disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorders and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.  Dr. Tassone has extensive experience in medical genetics and clinical analysis. She has been granted multiple fellowships and training opportunities, as well as research awards from NIH, the National Fragile X Foundation, and UC Davis Health System for her outstanding contributions to the field. Dr. Tassone is well known in the international Fragile X community; her work has been presented internationally and she has published extensively on the molecular aspect of both Fragile X and FXTAS and autism.

Hoeffer CA, Sanchez E, Hagerman RJ, Mu Y, Nguyen DV, Wong H, Whelan AM, Zukin RS, Klann E, Tassone F. Altered mTOR signaling and enhanced CYFIP2 expression levels in subjects with Fragile X syndrome. Genes Brain Behav. 2012 Jan 23. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2012.00768.x.]

Hall D, Tassone F, Klepitskaya O, Leehey M. Fragile X-Associated tremor ataxia syndrome in FMR1 gray zone allele carriers. Mov Disord. Dec 2011; 26(14) [DOI: 10.1002/mds.24021]

McLennan Y, Polussa J, Tassone F, Hagerman R, Overview of Fragile X Syndrome. Current Genomics. May 2011;12(3): 216-24.

Tassone F, Hagerman R. The fragile x-associated tremor ataxia syndrome. Results Probl Cell Differ. 2012; 54:337-57.

Chonchaiya W, Au J, Schneider A, Hessl D, Harris SW, Laird M, My Y, Tassone F. Increased Prevalence of Seizures in Boys Who Were Probands with the FMR1 premutation and Co-Morbid Autism Spectrum Disorder. Hum Genet. 2011 Oct 14. [DOI: 10.1007/s00439-011-1106-6]

Winarni TI, Utari A, Mundhofir FE, Tong T, Durbin-Johnson B, Faradz SM, Tassone F. Identification of Expanded Alleles of the FMR1 Gene Among High-Risk Population in Indonesia by Using Blood Spot Screening. Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2011 Oct 11. [DOI: 10.1089/gtmb.2011.0089]

Hamlin A, Liu Y, Nguyen DV, Tassone F, Zhang L, Hagerman RJ. Sleep apnea in fragile X premutation carriers with and without FXTAS. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr y. 2011 Sep 19.

Leehey MA, Legg W, Tassone F, Hagerman R. Fibromyalgia in fragile X mental retardation 1 gene premutation carriers. Rheumatology (Oxford). Dec 2011; 50(12)2233-6.

Stöger R, Genereux DP, Hagerman RJ, Hagerman PJ, Tassone F, Laird CD. Testing the FMR1 Promoter for Mosaicism in DNA Methylation among CpG Sites, Strands, and Cells in FMR1-Expressing Males with Fragile X Syndrome. PLoS One. Aug 2011;6(8):e23648. 

Yrigollen CM, Tassone F, Durbin-Johnson B, Tassone F. The role of AGG interruptions in the transcription of FMR1 premutation alleles. PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e21728.

  • National Institute of Health

Honors and Awards

  • (2010) MIND Institute Research Award
  • (2009) 2009 Dean’s Team Award for Excellence