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Systems Biology of Autism

The aim of ‘Boston Clubs’ is to explore scientific developments in fields that might one day contribute to a better understanding of autism and lead to treatments that will improve the lives of autistic individuals. Many lines of evidence, particularly genetic studies of multiplex families, suggest that this complex disorder is of neurobiological origin, yet we are a long way from understanding how genes predispose an individual to autism, or how epigenetic factors may tip the balance towards one form or another of this heterogeneous condition. Why so many persons with autism have trouble expressing themselves through speech is one of the deepest mysteries of human life, and one that will require scientific and technological creativity at the highest levels to resolve. A Boston Club held in November 2006 focused on the Systems Biology of Autism. Systems Biology, by its very nature, represents a powerful new paradigm  for organizing our growing knowledge of autism that could reveal entirely new lines of research.

Matthew Anderson, MD, Ph.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Albert Galaburda, M.D., Harvard Medical School

Information-Weighted LOD Scores in Autism Genomics (with Andrey Rzhetsky)
T. Conrad Gilliam, Ph.D., University of Chicago

Tal Kenet, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital

Framing Autism in the Context of Systems Biology
Stanley Nelson, MD, University of California, Los Angeles

Damon Page, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Information-Weighted LOD Scores in Autism Genomics (with T. Conrad Gilliam)
Andrey Rzhetsky, Ph.D., Columbia University

Understanding the Progression of Complex Developmental Diseases
Marc Vidal, Ph.D., Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Integrating Digital Medical Records into Autism Research
Peter White, Ph.D., The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

The Heterogeneity of Autism: Lessons from Low Copy Number Repeat Frequencies
Michael Wigler, Ph.D., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


The Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, Wellesley, MA