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Emily Casanova

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in Psychology


B.A. (Psychology), Webster University, St. Louis; M.S.

Ph.D. (Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology), University of Louisville


  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Psychological Sciences


Dr. Emily Casanova has recently joined the Neuroscience program and the Department of Psychological Sciences at Loyola University, New Orleans, in the fall of 2022. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Webster University in St. Louis, and then went on to receive her M.S. (2012) and Ph.D. (2014) in Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology from the University of Louisville. She did a one-year postdoctoral fellowship with the University of South Carolina (USC) in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), followed by a three-year research postdoctoral fellowship, performing both clinical and basic autism research. She was hired by USC first as a Research Assistant Professor in Biomedical Sciences and then as a Clinical Assistant Professor in Pediatrics, as well as maintaining an Adjunct Lecturer position with Wofford College, teaching Psychology courses.

Throughout her training and early career, Dr. Casanova’s research has been focused on the study of autism from various perspectives, including investigation of its overlap with hereditary connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and fragile X premutation, as well as the investigation of major effect autism susceptibility genes and their evolution. Related to the study of autism gene evolution, Dr. Casanova has also been investigating a large group of developmental regulatory genes, their roles in metazoan evolution, and how they relate to evolutionary theories such as Punctuated Equilibria.
Dr. Casanova enjoys collecting antiques, traveling to other countries, knitting, collecting fossils, spending time with her family (both the two-legged and furry varieties), and a good strong cuppa tea! She also blogs on Science Over a Cuppa:

Classes Taught

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Fundamentals of Neuroscience
  • Human Brain Evolution


Tassanakijpanich, N., McKenzie, F. J., McLennan, Y. A., Romney, C., Makhoul, L., Cortina Petrasic, I., Napalinga, K., Tassone, F., Buchanan, C. B., Hagerman, R. J., & Casanova, E. L. Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) phenotype in Fragile X premutation carriers: Case series. BMJ Journal of Medical Genetics, doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2020-107609.

Casanova, E. L., Widman, CJ. (2021). A sociological treatment exploring the medical model in relation to the neurodiversity movement with reference to policy and practice. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate & Practice, 17, 363-381.

Casanova, E. L., Baeza-Velasco, C., Buchanan, C. B., Casanova, M. F. The relationship between autism and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes/hypermobility spectrum disorders. Journal of Personalized Medicine, 10(4), 260.

Casanova, E. L., & Konkel, M. K. (2020). The Developmental Gene Hypothesis for Punctuated Equilibrium: Combined roles of developmental regulatory genes and transposable elements. BioEssays, 42(2), 1900173.

Casanova, E. L., Sharp, J. L., Edelson, S. M., Kelly, D. P., Sokhadze, E. M., & Casanova, M. F. (2020). Immune, autonomic, and endocrine dysregulation in autism and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome/hypermobility spectrum disorders versus unaffected controls. Journal for ReAttach Therapy and Developmental Diversities, 2(2), 82-95.

Casanova, E. L., Switala, A. E., Dandamudi, S., Hickman, A. R., Vandenbrink, J., Sharp, J. L., Feltus, F. A., & Casanova, M. F. (2019). Autism risk genes are evolutionarily ancient and maintain a unique feature landscape that echoes their function. Autism Research, 12(6), 860-869.

Casanova, E. L., Gerstner, Z., Sharp, J. L., Casanova, M. F., & Feltus, F. A. (2018). Widespread genotype-phenotype correlations in intellectual disability. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, e535.

Casanova, E. L., Sharp, J. L., Chakraborty, H., Sumi, N. S., & Casanova, M. F. (2016). Genes with high penetrance for syndromic and non-syndromic autism typically function within the nucleus and regulate gene expression. Molecular Autism, 7, 18.

Casanova, E. L., & Casanova, M. F. (2014). Genetic studies indicate that neural induction and early neuronal maturation are disturbed in autism. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 8, 397.

Williams, E. L., & Casanova, M. F. (2011). Above genetics: Lessons from cerebral development in autism. Translational Neuroscience, 2(2), 106-120.