Seminar – Carlos Portera-Cailliau, MD, PhD – “Cortical Circuits in Neurodevelopmental Disorders”

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Dr. Carlos Portera-Cailliau investigates synaptic and circuit changes in the mouse model of Fragile X syndrome in his lab at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, where he is on faculty. He has received grants from the NIH, the Dana Foundation, the March of Dimes Foundation, the Simons Foundation, and the John Merck Fund. From 2013 to 2021 he was the co-director of the UCLA-Caltech medical Scientist Training Program. He still sees patients in the movement disorders clinic.

Seminar – Jonathan Santoro, MD – “Down Syndrome Regression Disorder: Neuroinflammation and Response to Immunotherapeutics”

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Dr. Santoro serves as the Director of Neuroimmunology and Demyelinating Disorders Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He is also an assistant professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. Santoro has been instrumental in identifying systemic vascular abnormalities in persons with Down syndrome and moyamoya disease, a rare stroke disorder which affects persons with Down syndrome 26 times more frequently than the general population. Santoro also has clinical research expertise in inflammation as it related to cerebrovascular disease and neurocognitive disorders such as Down syndrome regression syndrome, of which he spoken on internationally.

Seminar – Stephen Scherer, PhD, DSc FRSC – Understanding the Composition of the Human Genome for Studies of Genetic Disease

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Dr. Stephen Scherer’s research includes understanding the composition of the human genome for studies of genetic disease built around three themes: 1) gene copy number and structural variation in the human genome, 2) determining the genetic architecture in autism spectrum and related- disorders and using this information to help families, and 3) developing infrastructure and capacity in Canada for translational genomics research.

Seminar – Junmin Peng, PhD – High-Throughput Proteomics of Human Diseases

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Dr. Peng is a member of both the Structural Biology and Developmental Neurobiology departments at St. Jude and serves as the director of the Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics. His research involves using mass spectrometry-based proteomics, metabolomics and systems biology to understand mechanisms of human disease.

Seminar – Ann Kaiser, PhD – Topic: Language Growth in Young Children with Disabilities

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Dr. Kaiser is the Director of KidTalk and the Susan W. Gray Professor of Education and Human Development at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. She serves as the principal investigator for the research and demonstration grants at KidTalk. She has published more than 160 articles and chapters on early language interventions for children with language delays and developmental disabilities, and for children at risk due to poverty.

Seminar – Hongkui Zeng, PhD – Topic: High Resolution and Multidimensional Mapping of Cell Types in the Brain

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Hongkui Zeng joined the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2006 and became Executive Vice President Director of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2020. From 2016 to 2020, she led the Structured Science Division to develop and operate high-throughput pipelines to generate large-scale, open-access datasets and tools to accelerate neuroscience discovery. Since joining the Allen Institute, she has also led several research programs, including the Transgenic Technology program, the Human Cortex Gene Survey project, the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas project, and the Mouse Cell Types and Connectivity program. Zeng received her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from Brandeis University, where she studied the molecular mechanisms of the circadian clock in fruit flies. Then as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she studied the molecular and synaptic mechanisms underlying hippocampus-dependent plasticity and learning. Her current research interests are in understanding neuronal diversity and connectivity in the mouse visual cortical circuit and how different neuronal types work together to process and transform visual information. She has broad scientific experience and a keen interest in using a combined molecular, anatomical and physiological approach to unravel mechanisms of brain circuitry and potential means for treating brain diseases.

Seminar – Moriah Thomson, PhD – Topic: The Impact of Stress and Environmental Exposure on Neurodevelopment and Developmental Disorders

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Moriah Thomason, PhD, is the Barakett Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University Grossman School of Medicine. She is also faculty in the Department of Population Health and in the Neuroscience Institute. Her published research addresses principals of neural development beginning in utero. Her current NIH grants examine environmental factors with potential to influence functional neurocircuitry of the developing brain. She received her undergraduate training at UC Berkeley, and her graduate and postdoctoral training at Stanford and MIT in Neuroscience. Many of her studies address disparities experienced by minoritized individuals and she has written multiple commentaries about the importance of population representative and culturally sensitive science.

Seminar – Richard Finnell, PhD – “Embryonic Consequences of Abnormal Folate Transport”

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Dr. Richard H. Finnell holds the William T. Butler, M.D. Distinguished Chair and is a Professor in the Center for Precision Environmental Health in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, and in the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. A pediatric geneticist, he has been involved in investigating genetic susceptibility to environmentally induced birth defects, applying multi-omic approaches to the detection of potential teratogenic compounds in efforts to prevent these birth defects, developing mouse models to understand the pathogenesis of complex structural malformations, and using highly innovative stem cell therapies to treating these disabilities. The Finnell laboratory is focused on how folic acid transport impacts or modifies embryonic development. The Finnell laboratory uses the latest genome editing approaches to create novel transgenic mouse models and to dissect out critical events during embryonic development that result in structural birth defects.

Seminar – Lindsay Shea, DrPH, MS – Topic: Autism-Focused Evidence-Based Social and Health Policy

John D. Wiley Conference Center

Lindsay Shea is the Leader of the Life Course Outcomes Research Program and Director of the Policy and Analytics Center at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, and an associate professor. The Life Course Outcomes Research Program delivers information that empowers families, communities and organizations to create a world where people on the autism spectrum are valued and supported as contributing members of the community. The mission of the Policy and Analytics Center is to utilize innovative analytic strategies to support the development of effective social and health policy in cities, states, and across the U.S. Shea leads autism-focused projects at the local, state, federal and international levels. Shea first-authored the Pennsylvania Autism Census Report and her research interests are creating and using an evidence base in forming, evaluating, and implementing social and health policies.

Shea holds a doctoral degree in health policy from the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, Department of Health Management and Policy, and a Master’s degree in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice.