One Brain, Many Genomes: Somatic Mutation and Genomic Variability in the Human Cerebral Cortex

Date & Time

About Presidential Lectures

Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.

Due to the winter storm, the Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:00 p.m. Autism: Emerging Concepts lecture “One Brain, Many Genomes: Somatic Mutation and Genomic Variability in the Human Cerebral Cortex” by Christopher A. Walsh is canceled and will be rescheduled.

4:15 pm: Tea
5:00 pm: Lecture
6:15 pm: Reception

Christopher Walsh and his team are interested in genetic mechanisms of cerebral cortical development and abnormalities of cortical development resulting in intellectual disability, autism and epilepsy. The lab pioneered the analysis of recessive causes of autism by studying children with autism whose parents share ancestry.

Walsh will review recent work on ‘somatic mutations’ — de novo mutations that are present in some brain cells but not in all cells of the body — in several neurological conditions associated with intellectual disability and seizures. The talk will also cover the extent to which somatic mutations are an inevitable part of normal brain development, such that the neurons in the human brain are a tapestry of cells with distinct genomes. He will briefly discuss the possible relevance of somatic mutations to autism.

If this lecture is videotaped, it will be posted here after production.

About the Speaker

Christopher A. Walsh is chief of the genetics and genomics division at Boston Children’s Hospital, Bullard Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He completed his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Chicago, trained in neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and has worked at Boston Children’s Hospital since 2006.

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