On the road to precision health: Brain-based biomarkers in autism spectrum disorder

  • Autism Research
Speaker Shafali Spurling Jeste, M.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Date & Time


Location

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010 United States

Autism Research

Autism Research lectures bring together scientists and scholars to discuss diverse and important topics related to autism. The lectures are open to the public and are held at the Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation headquarters in New York City. Tea is served prior to each lecture.

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On 7 February 2018, Shafali Spurling Jeste provided a topical overview of the current state of research in autism biomarkers. She shared data from studies of autism biomarkers in three key areas: early risk prediction (studies of high-risk infants), heterogeneity within the autism spectrum and genetically defined subgroups within autism. Finally, she discussed the challenges around clinical trial design and development and considered how more objective measures of brain function can improve clinical trials.

Her talk was part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research lecture series.

About the Lecture

Autism has well-established roots in disruptions during the development of neural networks. Functional neuroimaging methods, such as electroencephalography (EEG), can measure these brain changes, with such measurements serving as robust “biomarkers” of the condition. Studies of autism biomarkers can enhance our ability to predict atypical development early in infancy and can improve both the selection of trial participants and quantification of brain changes with treatment in clinical trials. However, autism biomarker studies face many challenges, from methods in data collection to the generalizability of findings to the broader autism spectrum.

In this lecture, Shafali Spurling Jeste provided a topical overview of the current state of research in autism biomarkers. She shared data from studies of autism biomarkers in three key areas: early risk prediction (studies of high-risk infants), heterogeneity within the autism spectrum and genetically defined subgroups within autism. Finally, she discussed the challenges around clinical trial design and development and considered how more objective measures of brain function can improve clinical trials.

About the Speaker

Shafali Spurling Jeste is a behavioral child neurologist specializing in autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. After earning her B.A. in philosophy from Yale University and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, she completed both child neurology and developmental neuroscience fellowships at Boston Children’s Hospital. Since 2010, she has directed the biomarkers core of the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Autism Research and Treatment. Her extensive research program integrates genetics with functional electroencephalography to inform early risk prediction, treatment targets and clinical trials in autism, motivated by the ultimate goal of improving treatments and outcomes in infants and children with autism.

Past Lectures

Phenotyping sleep

Emmanuel Mignot, M.D., Ph.D.Craig Reynolds Professor of Sleep Medicine, Stanford University

On September 16, 2020, Emmanuel Mignot discussed sleep biology as well as sleep disorders and their impact. He presented a link to what is known on the genetics of sleep and sleep disorders. He emphasized the need for large scale objective sleep recording studies with genomic and proteomic analysis to better understand the molecular pathways regulating sleep and circadian biology.

Progress in understanding the genetic basis of mental health

Benjamin Neale, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associated Researcher, Broad Institute

On May 6, 2020, Benjamin Neale discussed progress in mapping genetic risk factors for autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Autism, autisms, or neurodevelopmental disorders?

Jason Lerch, Ph.D.Director of Preclinical Imaging, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford
Adjunct Scientist, Mouse Imaging Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children
Associate Professor in Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto

On January 29, 2020, Jason Lerch explored this question: What do modern ways of looking at brains and genes tell us about autism – or autisms – and its relation to attention deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other related disorders of brain development?

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