The BRAIN Foundation Opens Synchrony 2020 on Nov. 1, Supported by Caltech, Highlighting a Program on Basic Research and Animal Model Research in ASD

The BRAIN Foundation Opens Synchrony 2020, the annual symposium on translational research in autism; From Bench to BioPharma, with a day of presentations from leading researchers in animal models of autism.

PLEASANTON, Calif. - October 29, 2020 - (Newswire.com)

On Nov. 1, 2020, Synchrony 2020 opens with a day of research presentations, bringing international leaders in basic science and animal models of research, presented by Session Chair, Dr. Sarkis Mazmanian, Ph.D., Caltech's Luis B. and Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology and investigator with the Heritage Medical Research Institute.

Dr. Mazmanian, who researches the connections between gut microbiota and the brain in mice, will open the conference with an introduction to this exciting field of research. 

While autism is uniquely a human trait, animal models can be used to study complex behaviors, as well as altered brain function, metabolism, immune responses, and other physiological and physical conditions associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Furthermore, pre-clinical animal models can be employed to explore potential causes of ASD, as well as novel treatment options using approaches that are not possible or not justified for human studies. This session will present cutting-edge research into how such mouse models are being used to help understand ASD in humans.

Dr. Mazmanian's presentation highlights the effects of gut microbial molecules on the function of specialized brain cells called oligodendrocytes and how they modulate complex behaviors in mice models of ASD.

Another key presentation by Dr. Daniel Geshwind, Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics Professor, Neurology and Psychiatry; Director, Neurogenetics Program and the Center for Autism Research and Treatment David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, US, discusses the important topic of translating genetic findings in ASD to potential therapies. 

Genetics provides one mechanism to stratify ASD subjects and to develop precision medicine approaches. A key presentation on this day will summarize the status of genetic discovery in ASD and give examples of how gene discovery can contribute to novel therapeutics. Dr. Joseph Buxbaum, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, will review his seminal work on this topic.

A subset of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit temporary but considerable improvements in their behavioral symptoms during episodes of fever, a sign of systemic inflammation. Dr. Jun Huh, Ph.D., Department of Immunology Harvard Medical School, will describe a mechanistic explanation of how fever-associated immune responses translate into behavioral relief.

From the Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology, SUNY, Research Professor Dr. Edward Quadros, will present a recent update on levofolinate treatment for ASD and new advances from studying an animal model.

Many ASD individuals report gastrointestinal issues. Dr. Elisa Hill, Ph.D, from RMIT, Australia, will present her research in mouse models that suggest autism-associated gene mutations affecting brain function can also impact the gut and likely cause gastrointestinal dysfunction in some individuals diagnosed with autism.

Laetitia Davidovic, Ph.D., Faculty Member, Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, will discuss the effect of a gut microbial metabolite p-cresol and its role in promoting certain characteristic behaviors in mice. This research is part of a growing appreciation for the impact of metabolic problems in some children with ASD.

Probiotics have been anecdotally suggested to help improve gut and behavioral issues in ASD. Mauro Costa-Mattioli, Ph.D., Professor and Cullen Foundation Endowed Chair Director of Memory and Brain Research Center, Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, US, will discuss gut microbiota and brain interactions in neuro-developmental disorders and how specific bacteria may help alleviate behavioral symptoms in mice. 

"Animal models can provide insights into non-behavioral features of ASD, such as the role of the immune system, metabolic system, and gastrointestinal tract including possible contributions by the gut microbiome. Knowledge from these studies presented in this session may not only help inform human research but may also prove invaluable in testing therapeutics to help improve the lives of ASD individuals and their families," said Dr. Mazmanian.

"Basic science and animal model research will pave the way to new scientific discoveries and novel therapeutics to treat the disabling medical conditions affecting those with the diagnosis of ASD and other neuro-developmental conditions. Hence, it was our decision to open this multi-week virtual conference with the brightest minds in this field. We hope that the discussions and collaborations during these weeks yield novel ideas, collaborations, discoveries and new hope to those afflicted by these conditions," said Pramila Srinivasan, Ph.D., the Founder of The BRAIN Foundation. 

Synchrony is the first and only international symposium on translational research in autism, that brings together academia, biotech, pharmaceutical companies and venture partners from around the world with the mission to improve health and quality of life for people with autism.




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Original Source: The BRAIN Foundation Opens Synchrony 2020 on Nov. 1, Supported by Caltech, Highlighting a Program on Basic Research and Animal Model Research in ASD
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