Progress in understanding the genetic basis of mental health

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


Location

Webinar

Schedule
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

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.

New research results from the Australian Autism Biobank study

Jake Gratten, Ph.D.Group Leader, Mater Research Institute, The University of Queensland
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
Naomi Wray, Ph.D.National Health and Medical Research Council Leadership Fellow – Group Leader, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
Affiliate Professor, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland

Jake Gratten and Naomi Wray presented findings from the Australian Autism Biobank study, an initiative to establish an Australian resource of biospecimens, phenotypes and genomic data for autism research.

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