NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
My [former] laboratory at Stanford studied the underlying cellular and molecular basis of autism spectrum disorders and other genetic neurodevelopmental disorders. We pioneered the use of induced pluripotent stem cells to study neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disease. At the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research we are developing new medicines to reduce human suffering and address serious unmet medical needs. For example we are developing technologies that will allow us to diagnose and treat genetic diseases like autism and intellectual disability.
Adult stem cells continuously supply highly differentiated but short-lived cells, such as blood, skin, intestinal epithelium, and sperm cells, throughout life. To maintain the balance between stem cells and differentiating cells -- a failure of which may lead to tumorigenesis through excess self-renewal or tissue degeneration through excess differentiation -- many stem cells have the potential to divide asymmetrically so that each division produces one stem cell and one differentiating cell.
In her talk, Dr. Akil will discuss the challenges of understanding the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder at the molecular and cellular level and the surprising insights derived from genomics and human postmortem studies. She will describe how animal models and neuroscience studies at multiple levels (from genetic to behaviorial) can be used to test and validate new targets for treatment and/or as biomarkers of the illness.
The page was last updated on Monday, March 23, 2015 - 3:00pm