One brain, many genomes: Somatic mutation and genomic variability in human cerebral cortex

  • Autism Research
Speaker Christopher Walsh, M.D., Ph.D.
Boston Children's Hospital
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 27 April 2016, Christopher Walsh reviewed recent work on ‘somatic mutations’ — de novo mutations that are present in some brain cells but not in all cells of the body — in several neurological conditions associated with intellectual disability and seizures.

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

About the Lecture

Christopher Walsh and his team are interested in genetic mechanisms of cerebral cortical development and abnormalities of cortical development resulting in intellectual disability, autism and epilepsy. The lab pioneered the analysis of recessive causes of autism by studying children with autism whose parents share ancestry.

In this lecture, Walsh reviewed recent work on ‘somatic mutations’ — de novo mutations that are present in some brain cells but not in all cells of the body — in several neurological conditions associated with intellectual disability and seizures. His talk also covered the extent to which somatic mutations are an inevitable part of normal brain development, such that the neurons in the human brain are a tapestry of cells with distinct genomes. The relevance of somatic mutations to autism was also discussed.

About the Speaker

Christopher A. Walsh is Chief of the Division of Genetics and Genomics at Boston Children’s Hospital, Bullard Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He completed the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Chicago, trained in neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and has been at Children’s Hospital since 2006.

Past Lectures

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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