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Faculty Candidate Talk: Donna M. Werling, PhD
January 23 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Speaker: Donna M. Werling, PhD
Talk Title: Genomic Investigation of Genetic Variation and Sex-Differential Biology in Brain Development and Autism
About the Speaker:
Werling received her BS in psychology from Duke University in 2008, and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA in 2014. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the labs of Matthew State and Stephen Sanders at the University of California, San Francisco.
Werling is interested in the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie neurodevelopmental and autism spectrum disorders including the role of sex-differential biology in modulating risk. Her research focuses on understanding the key neurobiological mechanisms involved in brain development and etiological pathways, including genetic and developmental processes, utilizing genomic and bioinformatic approaches in human tissue and model systems to identify and characterize the mechanisms involved.
About the Cluster Hire:
UW’s Cluster Hiring Initiative was launched in 1998 as an innovative partnership between the university, state and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). In its first phase, the initiative authorized nearly 50 “clusters” and nearly 150 new faculty through several rounds of hiring. In 2017, phase two of the Cluster Hiring Initiative was authorized with a goal of supporting at least 12 clusters.
A proposal by several Waisman Center investigators for a Functional Genetics/Genomics of Neurodevelopmental and Neurodegenerative Diseases cluster at the Waisman Center was selected by the UW-Madison Cluster Hire Initiative.
New faculty hires who are part of the Functional Genetics/Genomics of Neurodevelopmental and Neurodegenerative Diseases cluster at the Waisman Center will help develop a pipeline of discovery that begins with patients in the clinics and ends with new approaches for treatments or therapies. This cycle of translational research would start with identifying patient-specific genetic variants, and then continue through experimental studies to confirm whether these variants truly cause disease. Ultimately, new panels for diagnosis and new approaches for treatment may be discovered.