June 4, 2012

"Growing Brain Cells to Study Autism"

Ricardo Dolmetsch, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology
Stanford University

June 4, 2012
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Recently published research on autism genetics has implicated a wide range of genetic causes, but genetic differences explain only a minority of cases.  At Stanford, Ricardo Dolmetsch is taking a different approach to autism research, focusing on uncovering the biologic differences in the neurons of autistic patients. To achieve these research goals, Ricardo is pushing the limits of technology by converting skin cells from children with autism, turning them into pluripotent progenitor cells, which in turn are teased into brain cells.  This technological approach of growing a “brain in a dish” holds the potential to uncover possible treatment pathways for autism and a range of other neurodevelopmental disorders.

At our June café, Ricardo will discuss his approach to understanding the molecular basis of autism and its causes.  He will review the state of the art in autism research and his development for new tools to study and repair the developing brain.  He will also discuss his findings and potential ramifications for the treatment of autism and other related disorders.

Ricardo received his PhD in neuroscience from Stanford University.  He has received multiple honors and awards for his research, including the NIH Pioneer Award, Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award.