4th EU-AIMS Webinar

1 December at 4.30pm CET 7 3.3.pm GMT

Title: Genetic and synaptic diversities of autism

Speakers: Professor Thomas Bourgeron, Head of the Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Lab, at the Department of Neuroscience and Center for Bioinformatics, Biostatistics and Integrative Biology, Institut Pasteur, France; Professor Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Director of the Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Institute, Mannheim, Germany and Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany.

Please register your attendance at: https://webinar.globalmeet.com/ui/index.html#user/registration/addnew/6512/3028/JJYZwYxoR_iY5ZKCjmHt6Q (see below for technical requirements)


The webinar last approximately an hour and consist of two talks (each 15-20 minutes) followed by a Q&A discussion (20 minutes). You will be able to submit your questions for the presenters in advance at registration and during the webinar using the chat facilities.



Thomas Bourgeron, PhD: The genetic architecture of autism is complex made of a combination of common and rare variants. Our previous studies pointed at one biological pathway associated with autism related to the contact between nerve cells, the so-called synapses. Among the genes associated with autism, synaptic cell adhesion molecules (neuroligins and neurexins) and scaffolding proteins (SHANK) are crucial for synapse formation/maintenance as well as correct balance between inhibitory and excitatory synaptic currents. In this presentation, I will first detail our studies on the contribution of synaptic genes in autism based on results obtained in humans and mouse models. Finally, I will illustrate how the EU-AIMS project will help to tackle the genetic heterogeneity of autism by multi-scale genetic and clinical analyses of each individual.


Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, MD: The new information about genes for autism raises the question of how genetic variation leads to the behavioral alterations that define the condition. Neuroimaging can help here because we understand how certain brain systems are linked to behavior, but also how variation in gene influences systems. We illustrate this approach by showing results from our work studying brain imaging data in participants carrying common (AVPR1A and OXTR) or rare variants (copy number variants on 15q) linked to autism spectrum disorder. We also discuss how such insights can be used to evaluate new therapies, using the example of prosocial neuropeptides (oxytocin and vasopressin).



Speaker Biographies:

Thomas Bourgeron, PhD: Thomas Bourgeron began his research career investigating mitochondria first in plant and then in children with neurological diseases. He then moved to the Institut Pasteur to pursue his interests in the genetics of autism. In 2003, he published with Christopher Gillberg and Marion Leboyer the first mutations associated with autism linking genes and synapses to this complex condition. His group includes geneticists, neurobiologists and clinicians to study the genetic susceptibility to autism. He is the principal investigator for the genetics work package of the EU-AIMS, the largest European initiative on autism. In 2014, he was elected a member of the French Academy of Science. His multidisciplinary group aims to provide knowledge-based discoveries for a better diagnostic, care and integration of individuals with autism.  


Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, MD: Prof Meyer-Lindenberg is Director of the Central Institute of Mental Health, as well as the Medical Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Institute, based in Mannheim, Germany and Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany. He is board certified in psychiatry, psychotherapy, and neurology. Before coming to Mannheim in 2007, he spent ten years as a scientist at the National Institutes of Mental Health, Bethesda, USA. Prof Meyer-Lindenberg is the author of more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Medicine, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Neuron, PNAS, and others. He is currently named as one of the most highly cited scientists in the world (www.isihighlycited.com) He is the Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology and on the editorial board of a number of other journals such as Biological Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin, European Neuro­psycho­pharmacology, Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, and Neuroimage. His research interests focus on the development of novel treatments for severe psychiatric disorders, especially schizophrenia, through an application of multimodal neuroimaging, genetics and enviromics to characterize brain circuits underlying the risk for mental illness and cognitive dysfunction.


Technical requirements:

We would like to ask you if you could please register your attendance at: https://webinar.globalmeet.com/ui/index.html#user/registration/addnew/6512/3028/JJYZwYxoR_iY5ZKCjmHt6Q

There are two ways to log-in to the webinar:

1. Via Phone: a. Please enter your telephone number in the box of the pop-up window. i. Country code, e.g. +49 for Germany. ii. Area code without zero. iii. Telephone number. iv. Direct dial-in. b. Click OK. c. The system will give you a ring! Note: You don’t have to pay anything!

2. Via Computer: You need headphones and a microphone, connected to the computer. i. You can use a laptop with integrated mic and speakers. ii. You can use a desktop computer with headset (including mic). iii. You can plug-in an external mic as well as external speakers both at your desktop computer and your laptop. Note: Without a mic, the webinar application will not allow you to log-in. This is a must have!

The research leading to these results has received support from the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking under grant agreement n° 115300, resources of which are composed of financial contribution from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007 - 2013) and EFPIA companies' in kind contribution.