2019 Gatlinburg Conference Plenary Speakers
Assistant Professor, Cell and Regenerative Biology, Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr. Bhattacharyya is Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She is also Co-Director of the campus human pluripotent stem cell core and Chair of the campus-wide Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee. Her research is focused on a better understanding of the early development of the human forebrain using human pluripotent stem cells. Her research program aims to identify mistakes that are made in neurodevelopmental disorders, including Down syndrome. By defining the mistakes in neurodevelopment that lead to intellectual disability, we may be able to target therapeutics for these developmental disorders.
Director, Down Syndrome Clinic, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Dr. Capone attended college at Wesleyan University and worked as a research assistant at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston before obtaining his medical degree from the University of Connecticut in 1983. After a residency and fellowship in pediatrics at the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Dr. Capone came to Baltimore in 1988 to pursue a fellowship in neurobiology research at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Capone currently serves as the director of Kennedy Krieger Institute's Down Syndrome Clinic and Research Center (DSCRC), and is an attending physician on the institute's comprehensive rehabilitation unit.
Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Ben Handen has a longstanding research interests in developmental disabilities, focusing on Autism Spectrum Disorder and, more recently, Down syndrome. He is currently Director of Research and Clinical Services at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and PI of the University of Pittsburgh Autism Treatment Network. Much of Dr. Handen’s research has focused on the examination of psychopharmacology and psychosocial treatments in ASD. He has been particularly interested in parent-focused interventions and is one of the co-authors of the RUBI Parent Training Manual. For the past decade, Dr. Handen has expanded his research interests to include the course and development of Alzheimer’s Disease in adults with Down syndrome. He has been a PI on two multicienter projects (funded by NIA) that seek to examine potential biomarkers for the development of dementia in this population. Dr. Handen and his colleagues are currently following a group of 180 adults with Down syndrome using a protocol that includes MRI and PET scans as well as the examination of possible genetic and blood-based biomarkers and their impact on cognition and functioning.
Professor, Laboratory of Neural Development and Intellectual Disorders
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
Dr. Haydar received his doctorate at the University of Maryland School of Medicine working on brain development in the Trisomy 16 mouse model of Down syndrome with Dr. Bruce Krueger. He completed postdoctoral studies at Yale University with Dr. Pasko Rakic examining control of forebrain neural precursor development and then started his independent laboratory at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC in 2002. Dr. Haydar joined the Anatomy & Neurobiology Department at BUSM in 2010 where he maintains a vibrant laboratory using state-of-the-art molecular and surgical techniques to study mammalian brain development. Using in utero electroporation, in vivo genetic fate mapping and cell ablation techniques, this project is focused on how the multiple populations of neural stem cells and progenitor cells in the embryonic brain are lineally related and how their combined output leads to proper forebrain development. In addition, the lab is focusing on brain development and function in trisomy mouse models of Down syndrome using cellular, molecular and behavioral techniques. Dr. Haydar’s research is funded by the NIH (NINDS and NICHD).