A selection of presentations that will be given by past and current SFARI Investigators at Neuroscience 2017 in Washington, D.C., (November 11–15) is highlighted.
SFARI Investigator Liqun Luo discusses the neurodevelopmental disorder Smith-Magenis syndrome and his lab’s efforts to understand its underlying biology.
SFARI is pleased to announce that it has awarded 27 grants (21 Pilot Awards and 6 Research Awards) in response to the 2016 Pilot and Research Awards request for applications.
Rudolf Jaenisch has developed a method enabling the generation of microglia-like cells from human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells.
Hundreds of susceptibility genes have been identified for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and many are related to synaptic function. This has led to a hypothesis that the deficits in ASD may reflect an imbalance in the relative contributions of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs. Canonical neural computations are stereotyped, modular circuit functions that occur across the brain and can provide building blocks for more complex operations. Disruptions to these computations would be expected to have negative behavioral consequences. Interestingly, divisive normalization, one such canonical neural computation, computes a ratio between individual neuronal responses and the summed population activity, and inherently reflects the balance of excitation to inhibition.
Aberrant PI3K/PTEN signaling during brain development has emerged as a key determining factor in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Germline mutations in PTEN have been found in 20 percent of individuals with ASD and severe macrocephaly. Indeed, there is a growing consensus that deregulation of PI3K/PTEN signaling signifies a convergent pathway for behavioral abnormalities associated with various neurodevelopmental disorders.