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UC Davis MIND Institute researchers to present on autism at AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver
Date:2/18/2012

Two UC Davis MIND Institute researchers will lead a symposium on relationships between genetic, epigenetic and environmental influences on the development of autism in children during the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, Feb. 16 -18 in Vancouver, Canada.

The symposium, "Autism: Genetic, Epigenetic and Environmental Factors Influencing Neural Networks," will be held Feb. 18. The researchers, both affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute, are Isaac Pessah, director of the UC Davis Children's Center for Environmental Health and Disease Prevention and a professor in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and Janine LaSalle, professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and in the Rowe Program in Human Genetics.

A news briefing on the symposium will be held at 9 a.m. on Feb. 19 in Room 221 on the second Level of the Vancouver Convention Center.

Autism is a heterogeneous set of developmental disorders with complex etiologies. The goal of the symposium is to present a multidisciplinary perspective on how genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors can interact to promote autism risk. Other presenters will include symposium co-organizer Cindy Lawler of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Scott Selleck of Pennsylvania State University and Pat Leavitt of the University of Southern California.

Pessah, the symposium organizer, will address how understanding how low-level chemical exposures influence molecular, cellular and behavioral outcomes relevant to the development of autism will enlighten geneticists, neuroscientists and immunologists about autism's complex etiologies, and possibly yield novel intervention strategies. The inherent imbalances in neuronal connectivity in children at risk for autism are likely to provide the biological substrate for enhanced susceptibility to environmental triggers that are known to target signaling systems.
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Contact: Phyllis K. Brown
phyllis.brown@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9023
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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