Progress in understanding the genetic basis of mental health

  • Autism Research
Speaker Benjamin Neale, Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Date & Time



9:45 – 10:00 am EDT Webinar waiting room opens
10:00 – 11:15 am EDT Talk + Q&A

Autism Research

Autism Research lectures bring together scientists and scholars to discuss diverse and important topics related to autism.

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

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

About the Lecture

The past decade has seen rapid progress in mapping genetic risk factors for autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In this talk, Benjamin Neale reviewed this progress, delving into how study designs and genetic variants are teaching us about different aspects of mental health. With that backdrop, he then introduced the International Common Disease Alliance (ICDA), a nascent effort to bring the community together to tackle the challenge of moving from genetic maps to biological mechanisms and medicine. The ICDA has developed a set of recommendations for realizing the promise of human genetics to transform our understanding of and treatment for common disorders, such as autism.

About the Speaker

Benjamin Neale is an associate professor in the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he directs the Genomics of Public Health Initiative. He is also an associate professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and an institute member at the Broad Institute. Neale is strongly committed to gaining insights into the genetics of common, complex human diseases. Neale and Mark Daly, both of whom are associated with the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, lead the ADHD Initiative. This collaborative effort focuses on genomic studies of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Past Lectures

Rare variants and the genetics of autism

Evan E. Eichler, Ph.D.Professor, Department of Genome Sciences and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Washington, Seattle

Evan Eichler discussed his research on the genetics of autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions.

Phenotyping sleep

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

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.

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