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

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

His talk is part of the Simons Foundation Autism: Emerging Concepts lecture series.

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The lecture will take place in the Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation headquarters (160 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY) and is open to the scientific community.

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 will outline critical challenges, both conceptual and practical, to translating genomic, cellular, and animal model research into new treatments for ASD. He will discuss the limitations to conclusions drawn from work in the laboratory as they are extrapolated to the clinic. He will also describe 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 will suggest 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.