Potholes and progress on the road to translational treatments in autism spectrum disorder

  • Autism Research
Speaker Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, M.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
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.

Video Thumbnail

By clicking to watch this video, you agree to our privacy policy.

 
On 25 January 2017, Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele outlined critical challenges to translating genomic, cellular, and animal model research into new treatments for autism spectrum disorder.

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

About the Lecture

Emerging genomic and neuroscience findings have delivered hypotheses that are now being tested in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related genetic syndromes. Unfortunately, these clinical trials have not yet yielded positive results, suggesting a need to step back and evaluate the science of testing new treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders.

In this lecture, Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele outlined critical challenges, both conceptual and practical, to translating genomic, cellular, and animal model research into new treatments for ASD. He discussed the limitations to conclusions drawn from work in the laboratory as they are extrapolated to the clinic. He also described common pitfalls in clinical trials, including mismatches between hypotheses and study populations, substantial “placebo” effects, and subjective outcome measures. Framing these challenges in the context of past successes in ASD treatment research, he suggested guideposts as we work toward neurobiologically based treatments for ASD.

About the Speaker

Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele is the Mortimer D. Sackler, M.D., Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He completed his M.D. and residency training at the University of Chicago, postdoctoral training in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, and moved to Columbia in 2014. As a child psychiatrist and developmental neuroscientist, his primary motivation is to deliver new treatments to children with autism spectrum disorder and related neurodevelopmental disorders.

Past Lectures

How emotions shape our memories

Kelsey C. Martin, M.D., Ph.D.Director, SFARI
Director, Simons Foundation Neuroscience Collaborations
Leonard Mlodinow, Ph.D.Physicist and Author

Have you ever contemplated the difference between a feeling, a thought and a memory? And how do all these things fit together in making us who we are?

Leonard Mlodinow is a theoretical physicist and best-selling author. In his latest book, “Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking,” he unpacks the role emotions play in our thinking and mental well-being.

Kelsey Martin, director of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) and the foundation’s neuroscience collaborations, has spent much of her career as a neuroscientist seeking to understand better how experiences change brain connectivity to store long-term memories.

What do we mean by ‘autism risk genes’?

David Ledbetter, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, Dascena

Joseph Buxbaum, Ph.D.
Director, Seaver Autism Center
Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomic Sciences
Vice Chair for Research and Vice Chair for Mentoring, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Heather Mefford, M.D., Ph.D.
Full Member, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

David Ledbetter and Joseph Buxbaum discussed whether there are genes for which mutations confer risk specific to autism or whether these genes are really conferring general risk of disrupted brain development. The discussion was moderated by Heather Mefford.

Small molecules, genes and antisense oligonucleotides: Industry perspectives on treatment development for ASD

Federico Bolognani, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Head of Clinical Science, Axial Therapeutics

Stuart Cobb, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Neurogene; Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Yael Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Business Development, Ultragenyx

Randy Carpenter, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Rett Syndrome Research Trust; Co-Founder, Allos Pharma

Federico Bolognani, Stuart Cobb, and Yael Weiss joined a panel to discuss new industry developments on the use of small molecules, gene therapy and antisense oligonucleotides as treatment approaches for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The panel discussion was moderated by Randall Carpenter.

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive SFARI funding announcements and news