NEWS | September 21, 2012

MIND Institute 2012-2013 Distinguished Lecturer Series begins Oct. 10

Johns Hopkins University expert to discuss Down syndrome genetics


The UC Davis MIND Institute begins the 11th year of its Distinguished Lecturer Series on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Series presenters include nationally and internationally recognized researchers in autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome, among other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Professor Richard Reeves will give the Oct. 10 presentation from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the MIND Institute, 2825 50th St., Sacramento.

Reeves ©
Richard Reeves

Entitled "From Mice to Men, Translational Studies in Down Syndrome," Reeves' presentation will focus on earlier research findings that led to an on-going clinical trial of a drug designed to ameliorate cognitive deficits found in Down syndrome, and to a possible next generation of therapeutic approaches.

Down syndrome occurs as a result of Trisomy 21 and is among the most complicated genetic conditions compatible with human survival. The term "trisomy" refers to anomalies in which there are three instances of a particular chromosome instead of the normal two, and "Trisomy 21" refers to the presence of all or part of a third copy of human chromosome 21. Reeves and his team played a pivotal role in the development of the most widely used model of Down syndrome, the Ts65D mouse.  His characterization of this model demonstrated that many processes affected in human beings with trisomy 21 also occur in Ts65Dn mice, thereby establishing a biological system for understanding the basis of divergence in development and function that result in Down syndrome features.

Reeves earned his doctoral degree at the University of Maryland and pursued postdoctoral studies at The Johns Hopkins University. He received the Theodore D. Tjossem Research Award from the National Down Syndrome Congress in 2008 and serves on the editorial boards of Genomics, Journal of Heredity, Cancer Genomics and Proteomics, and Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

On Nov. 14 R. Richard Grinker, Professor of Anthropology, Human Sciences and International Affairs at The George Washington University, will discuss "Culture and Autism: Anthropological Perspectives on the U.S., Korea, and South Africa."

Boston University School of Medicine Professor Helen Tager-Flusberg will discuss "On the Origins and Development of Language and Communication in Autism Spectrum Disorder" on Dec. 12.

Other Distinguished Lecturer Series speakers will include University of Washington Professor Wendy Stone, director of the UW Autism Center in Seattle discussing "From Early Detection to Early Intervention: Bridging the Gap in Autism Services" on Jan. 9; Catherine Lord, director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, giving a talk titled "Longitudinal Studies of Autism Spectrum Disorder" on Feb. 13; and, on March 13, Paul Patterson, the Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, will discuss "Gut-Brain-Immune Connections: Modeling an Environmental Risk Factor for Autism."

All Distinguished Lecturer Series presentations are free and open to the public, with no reservations required. The MIND Institute Resource Center, specializing in information and resources relating to neurodevelopmental disorders and related conditions, is open one hour before and 30 minutes after each presentation.

The UC Davis MIND Institute, in Sacramento, Calif., was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where families, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers collaborate to study and treat autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome. More information about the institute, including previous presentations in its Distinguished Lecture Series, is available on the Web at