Professor Gráinne McAlonan, Professor of Translational Neuroscience, IoPPN, Department Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, Kings College London, United Kingdom
Title: Autism Spectrum Disorders across all ages: What does the vulnerable brain look like and can we shift its biology?
Monday 5 November, 2018 from 16 hrs until 17 hrs.
Location: MUMC+ Greepzaal (Room: 4.E2.020)
At 17 hrs. Closing drink
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is clinically diverse and its etiological mechanisms are poorly understood. This makes findings treatments challenging. What is needed is a better understanding of causal pathways to inform possible treatment targets; and subsequently, a means to examine target engagement. There is fresh hope however, based on evidence that multiple risk factors for ASD converge to disrupt the balance between excitatory glutamate (E) and inhibitory GABA (I) in brain and subsequently the activity and microstructure of brain circuits in ASD. We are directly testing this hypothesis by examining the link between ASD risk and spontaneous functional activity and microstructure in the neonatal brain in babies with and without a family history of ASD. We have also begun to investigate whether E/I abnormalities persist into adulthood in ASD, and if they are ‘responsive’ to pharmacological modulation. I will share some of our early progress in these areas.
Grainne McAlonan is Professor of Translational Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London. She uses MRI as a translational tool to link brain and behaviour in people with neurodevelopmental conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); and to ‘back-’ (and ‘forward-’) translate to laboratory models. Her research is informed by her work in the adult neurodevelopmental disorders diagnostic clinic at the Maudsley Hospital. Her roles include, Deputy Head of the Sackler Institute for Translational Neurodevelopment and the Dept. of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences at King’s; and Head of Research within the Behavioural Developmental Psychiatry, Clinical Academic Group, King’s Health Partners. Prof McAlonan leads the fetal/neonatal/infant imaging studies and GABA pharmacology studies within the EU-AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium – a European network hosting the world’s largest grant for autism research.
Participation is free, but please note that registration is obligatory.