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Transgenerational inheritance of pathogen avoidance or: How getting food poisoning might save your species

Coleen T. Murphy, Ph.D.James A. Elkins, Jr. Professor in the Life Sciences, Princeton University

In this lecture, Coleen Murphy will present how she and her colleagues found that a single exposure to purified small RNAs isolated from pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA14) is sufficient to induce pathogen avoidance in the treated worms and four subsequent generations of progeny. The RNA interference (RNAi) and PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathways, the germline and the ASI neuron are all required for avoidance behavior induced by bacterial small RNAs and for the transgenerational inheritance of this behavior. A single P. aeruginosa non-coding RNA, P11, is necessary and sufficient to convey learned avoidance of PA14, and its C. elegans target, maco-1, is required for avoidance. Their results suggest that this non-coding-RNA-dependent mechanism evolved to survey the microbial environment of the worm, use this information to make appropriate behavioral decisions and pass this information on to its progeny.

SFARI 2022 Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA: Informational session

On February 25, 2022, SFARI held an informational session about the 2022 Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science request for applications. The session provided an overview of the RFA and its scientific priorities from SFARI senior scientist Pamela Feliciano, SFARI clinical research scientist LeeAnne Green Snyder, SFARI senior scientist Alice Luo Clayton and Clinical Research Associates deputy director Paul Wang.

SFARI 2022 Bridge to Independence Award RFA: Informational session

SFARI hosted an informational session on the 2022 Bridge to Independence Award (BTI) request for applications (RFA). The session provided a brief overview of the BTI program and its objectives from SFARI senior scientist Alice Luo Clayton and an open Q&A panel and breakout room discussions with current BTI fellows Gabriella Boulting, Marino Pagan, and Stephanie Rudolph.

Autism Rat Models Consortium RFA: Informational session

On July 26, SFARI hosted an informational session on the Autism Rat Models Consortium request for applications (RFA). SFARI senior scientist Alice Luo Clayton, and Peter Kind, director of the Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain (SIDB) at the University of Edinburgh will present the goals and objectives of this new funding opportunity and be available to answer questions from potential applicants.

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.

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