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Scientific Advisory Board Biographies

Ted Abel, Ph.D.
Dr. Ted Abel is a Professor in the Department of Biology and Director of the Biological Basis of Behavior Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Abel was an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, receiving a B.A. in Chemistry in 1985. After Swarthmore, Dr. Abel attended the University of Cambridge (Christ's College) as a Marshall Scholar, receiving an M. Phil. in Biochemistry and working with Dr. R. Tim Hunt on the cloning of cyclin. Dr. Abel then moved to Harvard University to work with Dr. Tom Maniatis on transcriptional regulation during Drosophila development as a National Science Foundation graduate fellow. After receiving his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1993 from Harvard University, Dr. Abel moved to the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University to do his postdoctoral work with Dr. Eric Kandel. Dr. Abel's postdoctoral work focused on genetic approaches to study the role of protein kinase A in neuronal function. During his postdoctoral research, Dr. Abel received a fellowship from the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fund and a young investigator award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD). In 1998, Dr. Abel joined the Biology Department at the University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor. His lab focuses on the role of the protein kinase A signaling pathway and transcriptional regulation in memory storage, sleep/wake regulation and mouse models of psychiatric disease. As an independent investigator, Dr. Abel has received a John Merck Scholars Award and a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. In 1999, Dr. Abel received a Young Investigator Award from the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. In 2000, he received the Daniel X. Freedman Award from NARSAD for outstanding research by a NARSAD young investigator. Dr. Abel's accomplishments in undergraduate teaching, research and advising were recognized in 2001 and 2005 when he was named Biological Basis of Behavior (BBB) Society Professor of the Year by the undergraduate BBB majors at Penn. In 2006, Dr. Abel was selected as the recipient of the School of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Mentorship of Undergraduate Research. In 2005, Dr. Abel was elected to membership in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dr. Abel is an Associate Editor of Behavioral Neuroscience and a member of the editorial board of Hippocampus. He has been a member of the Scientific Review Council and the Board of Directors of Cure Autism Now, and served on the Scientific Advisory Committee of Autism Speaks. He has served on grant review panels for the National Science Foundation and for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and he is currently a member of the Learning and Memory Study Section at NIH. Dr. Abel's research has been supported by grants from the NIH, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Human Frontiers Science Program, the Whitehall Foundation and the John Merck Fund.

David G. Amaral, Ph.D
David G. Amaral, Ph.D received his undergraduate education at Northwestern University and graduated with a degree in Psychology. He then moved to the University of Rochester where he received a joint Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Psychology. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Washington University. He then moved to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies where he remained for 13 years. During this period he was also an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego.

Dr. Amaral joined the University of California, Davis in 1995 as a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Center for Neuroscience. He is also a staff scientist at the California National Primate Research Center. Dr. Amaral was named the Beneto Foundation Chair and Research Director of the M.I.N.D. (Medical Investigations of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute in 1998. The M.I.N.D. Institute is dedicated to understanding the biological bases of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders with the goal of developing preventative measures and innovative treatments. Dr. Amaral was a founding member of the M.I.N.D. Institute and has been charged with guiding the overall research mission of the Institute.

Dr. Amaral's laboratory pursues research programs dealing with the neurobiology of primate social behavior and with the development and neuroanatomical organization of the primate and human amygdala and hippocampal formation. He has also carried out a longstanding program designed to understand the organization of brain regions involved in memory. His research now also includes postmortem studies of the autistic brain and magnetic resonance imaging studies of children with autism spectrum disorders. As Research Director at the M.I.N.D. Institute, he is currently coordinating a comprehensive and multidisciplinary analysis of children with autism called the Autism Phenome Project to define biomedical characteristics of different types of autism. This project will lead to more effective hypothesis driven research on the causes of each type of autism and ultimately to more effective treatments. Dr. Amaral has also spearheaded efforts to establish animal models of autism and has been evaluating the potential immune basis of certain forms of autism.

Dr. Amaral has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 25 years and has received two prestigious MERIT awards from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Amaral has received research awards from the McKnight Foundation, the Sloan Foundation and more recently from the Macarthur and McDonnell Foundations. He has successfully launched a peer-reviewed journal, Hippocampus, and has been Editor-in-Chief of the International Brain Research Organization's journal, Neuroscience. He has co-edited an authoritative book on the hippocampal formation aptly called, The Hippocampus Book.

Christopher Amos, Ph.D.
Dr. Amos trained in statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology under Dr. Robert Elston at the LSU Medical Center in New Orleans. Subsequently, he received postdoctoral and medical genetics training at the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Institute. In 1992 he became an assistant professor of Epidemiology and Biomathematics. He is currently Annie Laurie Howard Professor of Epidemiology, and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Amos served as the President for the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) in 2001 and is currently the secretary/treasurer for the society. He has served as program committee member for the American Society of Human Genetics and the American Association for Cancer Research. Dr. Amos directs a course in statistical genetics taught alternately at the UT Health Sciences Center and at Rice University.

Dr. Amos has worked to establish national and international collaborations to facilitate studies ranging from evaluating the psychosocial aspects of genetic testing for colon cancer to risk assessment of breast cancer. His research has ranged from investigating familial factors for prostate and head and neck cancers to study of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, a rare syndrome predisposing to polyps and multiple cancers. Dr. Amos provided critical statistical guidance and analytical support to the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium, which recently identified a genetic locus on chromosome 6q associated with lung cancer risk. Dr. Amos is also leading a study to identify genetic risk factors for lung cancer using a genome-wide association approach. By a genome-wide association method (Amos et al., 2008), his team identified a novel locus influencing lung cancer susceptibility in a region containing acetyl-cholinergic acid receptors CHRNA3, CHRNA5, and CHRNB4. Dr. Amos has also summarized optimal approaches for the design of genome wide studies and for pooled sequence analysis to identify rare variants.

Dr. Amos has directed the statistical genetics core for the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium. This collaborative group identified TRAF1/C5, STAT4, and in collaboration with Celera DX, PTPN22 as causal factors increasing the risk for rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Amos also directs the informatics core of a Program project investigating genetics of childhood cancer and he also supports statistical genetics for a grant from Genome Ontario.

Dr. Amos has developed novel mathematical tools studying genetic linkage analysis of quantitative traits. He has developed several multivariate techniques for genetic linkage analysis (Amos et al., Hum Hered, 51:133-144, 2001a; Amos et al., 1990). Model-free genetic linkage methods have been developed by his group for studying diseases having variable time to onset (Amos et al., 2001b), to allow for gene by environment interactions (Shete et al, 2001) and to allow for imprinting effects (Shete et al., 2003; Gorlova et al., 2003). In collaboration with Dr. Williamson, Dr. Amos (Williamson and Amos, 1986) showed that genetic linkage methods are robust to model-misspecification, indicating that false positive linkage findings will not be generated by an incorrect specification of the model for disease risk.

Rene Anand, Ph.D.
Dr. Rene Anand is Professor and Vice Chair of Academic Affairs in the Department of Pharmacology at the Ohio State University, College of Medicine, Columbus. He is the Chair of the steering committee for the newly established "Marci and Bill Ingram Comprehensive Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders" endowed by the Ingram family. In addition, he serves on the OSU Medical Center Research Strategic Planning Committee. He helped organize the first Autism Speaks Walk in Columbus in 2008 and since then continues to serve on the Walk's Executive Committee to help raise funds and awareness for autism research.

Dr. Anand received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Loyola College and his master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India. He then moved to the United States to pursue doctoral studies and obtained his Ph.D from OSU in 1989. He worked on mechanisms underlying homologous recombination in thalassemias, an inherited autosomal recessive blood disease in the laboratory of Dr. Vanin who was a postdoctoral fellow of Dr. Oliver Smithies, a recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. Dr. Smithies' laboratory developed the homologous DNA recombination technique behind production of gene targeting and knockout mice. Dr. Anand then did his postdoctoral training in neuroscience at the Salk Institute in San Diego, and at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, in the laboratory of Dr. Jon Lindstrom, co-discoverer of the autoimmune basis of Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease.

Dr. Anand was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 1997, Assistant and Associate Professor in the Neuroscience Center at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans from 1997 to 2006, and following the devastation brought on by hurricane Katrina joined the Department of Pharmacology at OSU in 2007.

His laboratory is interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying activity-dependent changes in the density, functional organization, and properties of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain. His laboratory uses molecular, cellular, proteomics, genomic, electrophysiological, and optical imaging tools, as well as animal models and induced pluripotent stem cells from patients. Specifically, his laboratory is studying the functional interaction between neurexins and nicotinic receptors, molecules with known deficits in autism. The ultimate goal of these studies is to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause nicotinic receptor dysfunctions in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and nicotine dependence, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Anand is a member of the Editorial Board of Molecular Neurobiology, the External Advisory Committee for the NINDS human DNA repository at the Coriell Institute, and the Program Committee of the Society for Neuroscience. He has served on grant review panels for NIH, Alzheimer's Association, California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, Hong Kong Research Grant Council, Israel Science Foundation, American Association for Advancement of Science and Autism Speaks. He has been extensively involved in various junior faculty and student mentoring activities as a member of the Council on Faculty Development at OSU, and nationally, in the Neuroscience Scholars Program sponsored by the Society for Neuroscience and NIH.

Dr. Anand's research program has received support from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institute of General Medicine, the OSU College of Medicine Research Fund, the Marc and Pam Gertz family, and Autism Speaks. He is a recipient of several special awards for his research such as the Lieber Independent Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD) and the Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA) award from NIH.

Mark Appelbaum, Ph.D.
Mark Appelbaum is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). In 1968, he earned his Ph.D. in in Quantitative Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Statistics from the University of Illinois. Dr. Appelbaum has also been on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University. His work has focused on the use of quantitative methods and data analytic approaches to the study of a wide range of problems encountered in psychology, medicine, and education.

His work in quantitative methods has included the analysis of non-orthogonal empirical designs, the analysis of longitudinal studies (including both traditional analytic approaches and growth curve methodology), methods for studying variability, randomization methods, reporting standards for psychological research studies, and the design and analysis of large-scale multi-site studies. In addition to his work on quantitative methods, he has been involved in a number of substantive areas of research including major studies of non-maternal child-care, studies of health and human behavior, studies relating architecture of brain and mind, HIV transmission in at risk populations, the relationship of abortion and women's mental health, as well as numerous studies of educational polices and outcomes. He currently directs the research, assessment, and evaluation component of UCSD's Center for Research in Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence and is co-director of the Center for Human Development at UCSD.

Dr. Appelbaum was the founding editor of Psychological Methods and was editor of the Psychological Bulletin. He has been a member of the Governing Council of the Society for Research in Child Development, Chairman of the Publications Committee of the American Psychological Society, and the Publications and Communications Board of the American Psychological Association. He has served as a member of the SAT Board of the College Entrance Examination Board, as well as numerous other board and advisory groups.

Melissa Begg, Sc.D.
Dr. Begg is Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs and Professor of Clinical Biostatistics at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She earned her doctorate in biostatistics from Harvard in 1989, and joined the Columbia faculty immediately thereafter. Her specialty areas include clinical research education, statistical methods in psychiatry and oral health, and analysis of cluster-correlated and sibling data. She developed and launched 2 training programs for clinical scientists at Columbia: the Master's track in Clinical Research Methods, and the Master's degree in Patient Oriented Research. In 2006 she became the Co-Director of Columbia's NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award, which aims to bridge basic, clinical, and translational science in order to bring effective health strategies into practice more efficiently. Dr. Begg's teaching skills have been recognized on several occasions; she was inducted into the university's Glenda Garvey Teaching Academy in 2005, and received both the university-wide Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Mailman School Teaching Award from the Graduating Class in 2006. She was invited to join the ASPH/Pfizer Public Health Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2007, and was elected to the Board of the Association for Clinical Research Training in 2008.

David C. Bellinger, Ph.D.
David C. Bellinger is Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). He is also a Senior Research Associate in Neurology and a Senior Associate in Psychiatry at the Children's Hospital Boston. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Williams College, a Ph.D. in Psychology from Cornell University, and a M.Sc. in Epidemiology from the HSPH. He has spent three decades conducting research on the neurotoxicity of metabolic and chemical insults in children. He directs an interdisciplinary postdoctoral training program in neurodevelopmental toxicology at HSPH and recently edited a textbook entitled Human Developmental Neurotoxicology. He has served as a member of several committees of the National Research Council, the Institute of Medicine, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. He was an inaugural member of the Federal Advisory Committee of the National Children's Study and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Human Studies Review Board. He is currently a member of the World Health Organization's Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group.

Susan Bookheimer, Ph.D.
Dr. Susan Bookheimer is Clinical Neuropsychologist and Joaquin M. Fuster Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. Dr. Bookheimer specializes in functional brain imaging with PET and functional MRI. Her work has focused on the organization of language and memory in the brain, in healthy adults and children and in neurologic conditions and developmental disorders. Recent work focuses on understanding the neural basis of social communication deficits in autism using functional MRI, encompassing both verbal and non-verbal communication, and focusing on emotional aspects of social comprehension. Dr. Bookheimer also maintains active research programs imaging dyslexia, Alzheimer's disease, and pre-surgical planning in patients with brain lesions such as tumors, arterio-venous malformations, and epilepsy. She is an executive member of the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment and currently heads the Autism Center of Excellence imaging core and overall program grant. Dr. Bookheimer has worked in the field of brain imaging for over 20 years. Dr. Bookheimer received her Bachelors degree in psychology from Cornell University in 1982, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University in 1989. She performed a postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health before coming to UCLA in 1993.

Rita M. Cantor, Ph.D.
Dr. Cantor received a Ph.D. degree from Cornell University which was followed by Postdoctoral research in statistical genetics in the Department of Human Genetics at the Medical College of Virginia. For the last 25 years, she has been at UCLA and affiliated hospitals conducting research in statistical methods and the genetics of complex disorders. These encompass a broad range of medical biobehavioral conditions, and include Familial Combined Hyperlipidemia, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She began her work on the genetics of Autism in 2001 when she identified quantitative traits associated with ASD and conducted gene mapping analyses in families from the AGRE repository. She is a member of the AGRE steering committee and an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Doug Compton
A graduate of Cornell University, Doug Compton joined Schering-Plough in 1988. For 17 years, his research concentration has been in the fields of lipoprotein metabolism and mechanisms of energy homeostasis. His research focused on the discovery of the cholesterol absorption inhibitor Zetia, and study of leptin resistance in obesity. He currently works for Research Diets, Inc. Married with three children, his son Daniel was diagnosed with autism in 1996. In 1997, he became a Scientific Review Council (SRC) Executive Committee Member of the Cure Autism Now foundation (CAN), serving until CAN's merger with Autism Speaks in 2007. Mr. Compton obtained a grant from the Schering-Plough, initiating the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). He served on initial steering committees for AGRE, the Autism Treatment Network, and the Autism Clinical Trials Network. He was a member of the first New Jersey Governor's Council on Autism at UMDNJ, helping to introduce and pass state and national legislation for autism research. He championed state funding for First Signs, piloted in NJ in 2001, and launched nationally in April 2001. Along with Portia Iverson (CAN), Eric London (NAAR), and David Amaral (MIND Institute), Doug conceived and coordinated the establishment of The International Meeting for Autism Research, IMFAR. In March of 2002, Doug left the research bench to become the Science Program Director of CAN. He left the position in 2003 to stay home with his three children, and continued to serve on CAN's Executive Council until 2007. He is also a Board Member of the American Special Hockey Association, a national ice hockey program for children and adults with special needs.

Mr. Compton is a parent community representative on Autism Speaks' Scientific and Treatment Advisory Boards, providing advice and perspective regarding the relevance of the grant proposals to the lives of persons with ASD and their families.

Lisa Croen, Ph.D.
Lisa Croen, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scientist at the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, and Director of the California Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE). She received a B.A. in environmental sciences (1982), and a M.P.H. (1986) and Ph.D. (1995) in epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley. She studied the epidemiology of congenital anomalies at the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program, California Department of Public Health from 1986-1999. Dr. Croen joined the Division of Research as a perinatal epidemiologist in the fall of 2000. Her research interests include the epidemiology of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, environmental exposures and gene/environment interaction, and adverse perinatal outcomes. Currently she is the site Principal Investigator on two large federally funded autism studies. The first is the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED), a large, national case-control study focused on environmental and genetic risks for autism, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The second is the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI), a national study of risk factors for having another child with autism in families already affected by the disorder. The EARLI Network is funded by the National Institutes of Health as an Autism Center of Excellence. Dr. Croen also directs the Early Markers for Autism (EMA) Study, an investigation of prenatal and neonatal biologic markers for autism funded by NIH and Autism Speaks, and is Co-Investigator on the California Autism Twins Study (CATS), funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Croen's research interests also include health service delivery for individuals with autism, and in collaboration with clinical colleagues, she directs the Kaiser Permanente site of the Autism Treatment Network and Autism Intervention Research program, funded by Autism Speaks and HRSA.

Stephen Dager, M.D.
Stephen Dager, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist by training, is a Professor of Radiology and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering and Psychiatry at the University of Washington, a Research Affiliate at the Center on Human Development and Disability, Director of the Neuroimaging Research Group and Interim Director of the UW Autism Center Clinical Program. He is a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dr. Dager has a long-standing involvement in autism research, including his collaborations with Dr. Geraldine Dawson on the Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism (CPEA) and Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART) NIH research programs. Currently, he is the UW Principal Investigator of the Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) Imaging Consortium studying infants at high risk for autism, and Principal Investigator of Imaging Research as part of the UW ACE grant. At the national level, Dr. Dager is on the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Autism Research Program Vision and Integration panels and is on the Editorial Board for Autism Research. He also served previously on the scientific advisory board for the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR).

Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D.
Richard J. Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Director of the W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984. He has published more than 250 articles, many chapters and reviews and edited 13 books. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research including a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award, a MERIT Award from NIMH, an Established Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD), a Distinguished Investigator Award from NARSAD, the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society, and the Hilldale Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was the Founding Co-Editor of the new American Psychological Association journal EMOTION. Dr. Davidson is Past-President of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. He was the year 2000 recipient of the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association – the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. In 2003 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2004 he was elected to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006. In 2006 he was also awarded the first Mani Bhaumik Award by UCLA for advancing the understanding of the brain and conscious mind in healing. Madison Magazine named him Person of the Year in 2007.

Bernie Devlin, Ph.D.
Bernie Devlin is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and B.S. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His research has two major foci, the development of statistical methods for the analysis of genetic data and the implementation of those methods to discover the genetic basis of disease and related phenotypes. His work on statistical modeling of genetic data has been recognized most recently by fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Deborah Fein, Ph.D.
Dr. Fein is currently Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and Professor of Pediatrics in the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University and her post-doctoral training in neuropsychology at Boston University and the Boston VA Medical Center, under the mentorship of Drs. Edith Kaplan and Allan Mirsky. She is a Diplomate in Clinical Neuropsychology (American Board of Professional Psychology) and is currently on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, and Associate Editor of the journal Neuropsychology. Dr. Fein has received numerous NIH grants for her work on autism. She has published well over 100 articles and chapters, mostly on autism-related topics, focusing on language, memory, attention, social interaction, hormone levels, and early detection. She edited a book on the neuropsychology of special abilities, and co-authored a recent book on educating children with autism in mainstream classrooms. She is currently conducting NIH-funded projects on the early detection of autism and on neuropsychological and psychiatric functioning, and brain structure, in children whose autism has resolved. She is also interested in work on improving early detection and treatment possibilities for children with ASD in developing countries.

Vahram (Harry) Haroutunian, Ph.D.
Vahram (Harry) Haroutunian, Ph.D. has been interested in the neurobiology of mental illness and learning and memory across the lifespan since his high school days at Bishop's Stortford College in the United Kingdom. After receiving his BA from Franklin and Marshall College, PA and MA and Ph.D. from Kent State University, he spent 5 years at Princeton University as a post-doctoral fellow studying the neurobiology of learning and memory during early development and old age. He joined the faculty at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1982 with a joint appointment at the Bronx VA Medical Center. He is currently Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobiology at Mount Sinai and the Associate Director for Research of the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Bronx J. J. Peters VA Medical Center. Dr. Haroutunian's research has been continuously funded by the NIH since his post-doctoral days and he has served on multiple NIH and non-profit foundation study sections and special interest panels. He is the director of an internationally recognized postmortem brain bank for dementia and mental illness research, director of the Clinical and Biological Studies of Early Alzheimer's disease program and currently studies the neurobiology of aging, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia using state-of-the-art molecular biological techniques. He has published over 200 research papers and book chapters, including papers in journals such as Science, Journal of Neuroscience and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

A. Kimberley McAllister, Ph.D.
Dr. McAllister is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at the Center for Neuroscience at UC Davis. She received a B.S. in Biology from Davidson College in 1988 and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Duke University in 1996. She did her postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute from 1996-1999 and joined the faculty at UC Davis in 2000. Dr. McAllister has received several awards for her research including a Pew Scholar Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Award from the March of Dimes, a John Merck Scholar Award, and a UC Davis Chancellor's Fellowship. In 2006, she won the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award. Dr. McAllister has been a Section Editor for Current Opinion in Neurobiology, an Associate Editor for Journal of Neuroscience and a Reviewing Editor for Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. She participated in the Biology Workshop for the Autism Strategic Planning Committee at NIH and was on the organizing committee for a recent NIMH Neuroimmunology and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Meeting. Her research has been funded by the National Eye Institute, the March of Dimes, Cure Autism Now, Autism Speaks, and NARSAD. Research in the McAllister Lab focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain development. The laboratory uses a wide variety of methods including cell culture, transfection, immunocytochemistry, confocal and time-lapse microscopy, biochemistry, histology, electron microscopy, and whole-cell patch-clamp recording to investigate the cellular mechanisms that underlie the formation, stabilization, and/or elimination of cortical synapses. In addition to basic mechanisms of development, the McAllister Lab is also studying the role for immune molecules in the establishment of cortical connectivity and their potential contribution to neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and schizophrenia.

Sheryl S. Moy, Ph.D.
Dr. Moy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and Director of the Mouse Behavioral Phenotyping Laboratory, a core facility of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD). Dr. Moy received a PhD degree from the Department of Psychology at UNC in 1992 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the UNC Brain and Development Research Center. Her area of expertise is the development and testing of rodent models for neurodevelopmental disorders, including genetic mouse models for autism, fragile X syndrome, Angelman syndrome, and schizophrenia. Current research projects include the development of mouse behavioral tasks for modeling the repetitive behavior and restricted interests observed in autism spectrum disorders, and examining the effect of early pharmacological intervention on social deficits in mice with glutamate hypofunction.

Michael Murias, Ph.D.
Dr. Murias is Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Adjunct Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. He received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine Department of Cognitive Sciences in 2004. His research applies electroencephalographic methods to study neocortical dynamics in children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. His current work in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder suggests alterations in local and global patterns of connectivity, which can vary according to task demands.

Charles Nelson, Ph.D.
Dr. Nelson is Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and the Richard David Scott Professor of Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research at Children's Hospital Boston. He is also an affiliate faculty member in the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Professor in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health. He has been inducted as a Fellow by the American Psychological Society, American Psychological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Recognized internationally as a leader in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience, Dr. Nelson has achieved numerous breakthroughs in broadening scientific understanding of brain and behavioral development during infancy and childhood. Over the last two decades, Dr. Nelson has focused his research efforts on the development and neural bases of memory; recognition and processing of objects, faces, and emotion; and neural plasticity. He has a particular interest in how early experience influences the course of development, and in this context has studied both typically developing children and children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr. Nelson has been a successful leader of large-scale research initiatives within the neuroscience community. He serves as the Chairperson of the Advisory Board to the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research program on Experience-Based Brain and Biological Development and was the Director of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Development. He also served on the National Academy of Sciences panel that produced the influential book, From Neurons to Neighborhoods. He has mentored a large number of students and postdoctoral fellows, most of whom have gone on to successful research careers at excellent universities.

Richard S. Nowakowski, Ph.D.
Richard S. Nowakowski, Ph.D. is currently the Randolph L. Rill Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Florida State University College of Medicine. He joined the faculty at the FSU College of Medicine in March, 2010. He was previously a member of the faculty at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and did postdoctoral work at Duke University and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany. His research focuses on stem cells and neurogenesis in the developing and adult nervous system and on the genetic basis of diversity in the mammalian brain. He is best known for introducing the bromodeoxyuridine based methods for measuring cell cycle and assessing cell proliferation. This method is widely used for stem cell studies in the brain.

Andrew Paterson, M.D.
Since 2001, Dr. Paterson has been a Research Scientist in the Program in Genetics and Genome Biology at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He is an Associate Director of The Center for Applied Genomics, a Canadian Genome Center also at The Hospital for Sick Children. He is an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Institute of Medical Sciences, and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and has held the Canada Research Chair in Genetics of Complex Diseases from 2002-2012. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK in 1995.

His scientific interests concentrate on the genetics of common complex diseases, including autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, he is an investigator on a Genome Canada and Canadian Institutes of Health Research project on the genetics of autism spectrum disorder and is a member of the Autism Genome Project. His main focus has been on the use of differences in clinical features of autism to improve the success of genetic mapping.

Dr. Paterson has published over 115 papers in various scientific journals. He has presented his research nationally and internationally at numerous conferences and universities.

Paul H. Patterson, Ph.D.
Since Dr. Patterson joined the Caltech faculty in 1983, the Patterson laboratory has contributed to the discovery of a new family of proteins, now termed the neuropoietic cytokines, because of their action in both the nervous and immune systems. Additionally, his laboratory has demonstrated that one of these cytokines, leukemia inhibitory factor, is a key regulator of the brain's response to injury, seizure and ischemia, through its control of glial activation, immune cell infiltration, neuronal death and neurogenesis, as well as neuronal gene expression. His group has also shown that the cytokine IL-6 is likely to be important in the modulation of synaptic connections that underlie learning and memory and has developed antibodies that inhibit or exacerbate the toxicity of mutant huntingtin, the protein that causes Huntington's disease. His laboratory is currently studying cytokine involvement in a new animal model for autism and schizophrenia. This mouse model is based on epidemiological findings that maternal viral infection can increase the likelihood of these disorders in the offspring.

At Caltech, Dr. Patterson has served as Executive Officer for Neurobiology from 1989-2000 and Vice Chair of the Faculty from 1999-2001. Prior to joining the Caltech faculty, Dr. Patterson was first a Helen Hay Whitney post-doctoral fellow and then a faculty member from 1973-1983 in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard University Medical School. Dr. Patterson received a B.A. in biology from Grinnell College and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Patterson is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the recipient of the a Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression as well as a McKnight Foundation Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Award. He also received the W. Alden Spencer Award from the Center for Neuroscience, Columbia University, and the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the NINDS Council at NIH. He was the Ulf von Euler Lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in Stockhom, the Jerome Sutin Lecturer at Emory University, and was a visiting Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. For his teaching at Caltech, Dr. Patterson received Biology Undergraduate Student Advisory Committee Excellence in Teaching Awards and the 11th Annual Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Associated Students of Caltech. He is currently serving on the Scientific Advisory Board of the John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation.

Richard Paylor, Ph.D.
Dr. Paylor is a leader in developing and implementing behavioral test batteries for the analysis of mutant mice. Dr. Paylor has studied the behavioral responses of well over 150 different lines of genetic mice and was a co-author on the very first paper published in Science describing a behavioral phenotype in a knockout mouse. Dr. Paylor is well recognized for his research directed towards using mouse genetic models to understand and evaluate potential treatments for developmental disorders including fragile X syndrome and autism. Dr. Paylor is also well known for his work on the role background genetic factors play in regulating functional outcomes in mutant mice. Dr. Paylor received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Colorado in 1991. After receiving his degree, he pursued postdoctoral training from the Institute of Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado and a Senior Staff Fellow position at the National Institute for Mental Health before joining the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Paylor is currently a Professor in the Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics, and Neuroscience. Dr Paylor is also the Director for the state-of-the-art Transgenic Mouse Neurobehavioral Core facility at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Paylor serves as a scientific advisor and consultant for a number of Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies as well as various academic institutions.

Isaac N. Pessah, Ph.D.
Isaac Pessah obtained his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of Maryland in 1984. He worked with Professor John Casida as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Pesticide Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratory at UC Berkeley from 1984 to 1987, during which time he discovered a family of calcium channels termed ryanodine receptors. Since then, his research and academic interests have spanned the broad area of molecular and cellular mechanisms by which these channels regulate Ca2+ signaling in muscle, neurons, and immune cells. He studies the organization and function of the macromolecular complexes regulating ryanodine-sensitive Ca2+ channels and how environmental chemicals including PCBs, PBDEs, reactive quinone metabolites, pesticides and heavy metals influence developmental toxicity through these complexes. More recently, members of his laboratory have been studying gene-environment interactions influencing susceptibility that are relevant to autism and related disorders using mice possessing missense mutations known to contribute susceptibility to human disease. Dr. Pessah is a member of the Society of Toxicology and Neurotoxicology Specialty Section, the American Chemical Society and Pesticide Toxicology Specialty Section, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and the Biophysical Society, and International Neurotoxicology Association. He is Associate Editor of NeuroToxicology, and is on the editorial board of Neurotoxicology and Teratology, Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology and Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Currently he is Professor and Chair in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis and Directs the UC Davis Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention. The Center is an NIEHS/US EPA funded multidisciplinary program aimed at understanding how environmental factors influence autism risk and severity.

Ann Reynolds, M.D.
Dr. Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado at Denver and the Director of the Child Development Unit at The Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. Dr. Reynolds received her undergraduate degree from Emory University and her medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. She did her residency training in Pediatrics at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and her fellowship in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Reynolds is a Co-PI and Operations Coordinator for the ATN site at the University of Colorado. Dr. Reynolds has a research interest in co-occurring medical conditions in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. Reynolds has been actively involved in designing portions of the multi-site, CDC funded Centers for Excellence for Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, CADDRE/SEED study of ASD.

Catherine E. Rice, Ph.D.
Dr. Rice is a Behavioral Scientist with the Developmental Disabilities Branch at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her current work at CDC involves tracking the rates of ASDs in Atlanta and working with state partners to develop the Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM), which is an ongoing monitoring system for ASDs around the United States. She also serves as a Diagnostic Associate at the Emory Autism Center and conducts training to professionals on the diagnosis and assessment of people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Emory University and her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Boston College. Dr. Rice has worked in teaching, research, diagnosis, and consultation related to autism and other developmental disabilities for over 15 years.

Bob Schultz, Ph.D.
Bob Schultz, Ph.D., is trained as a clinical psychologist with expertise in neuropsychology and neuroimaging. He currently is the Director of the Center for Autism Research (CAR) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and is the R.A.C. Endowed Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Schultz is active nationally and internationally within the autism community, currently serving as the President of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), several scientific advisory boards, and as an Associate Editor for Autism Research. He has a very active grant funded program of research focusing on neurobiological causes of the autism spectrum disorders and the plasticity of the brain as the result of effective interventions. He is best known for his work on understanding the social brain.

Nancy Simon, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Simon is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Medical Center. After graduating from Princeton University, she attended the University of Virginia School of Medicine and then came to Seattle for her Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Washington (UW) Medical Center. After completing her training, she worked for two years in an inner city Emergency Department before receiving a National Research Service Award fellowship during which she received her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology, focusing on appropriate usage of antibiotics. She then started her current position at the UW School of Medicine. In addition to seeing patients at the Women's Health Care Center, she attends on the in-patient Internal Medicine Service and is also a member of the School of Medicine College Faculty, a group of physicians who teach and mentor medical students. She was recently elected to Fellowship in the American College of Physicians.Dr. Simon has a child with autism, is a member of the University of Washington Autism Center Development work group and has served on the Washington Governor's Autism task force.

Dr. Simon is a parent community representative on Autism Speaks' Scientific and Treatment Advisory Boards, providing advice and perspective regarding the relevance of the grant proposals to the lives of persons with ASD and their families.

Sangram Sisodia, Ph.D.
Dr. Sangram Sisodia received his B.A. from the College of Wooster in Ohio and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Georgia. He joined The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1985, where he rose to the rank of Professor of Pathology and Neuroscience. He then moved to The University of Chicago in 1998 to assume the Chairmanship in the Department of Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Physiology. He is currently The Thomas Reynolds Sr. Family Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Center for Molecular Neurobiology in the Department of Neurobiology at The University of Chicago. His research has focused on understanding the cellular and molecular biology of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilins (PS1 and PS2) that are mutated in pedigrees with familial Alzheimer's Disease (FAD). He was the first to define the biosynthesis, processing and trafficking of APP in mammalian cells in vitro, and to establish that neuronal APP is rapidly transported and processed at terminals (synapses) in the CNS where Aß peptides are generated and deposited. Dr. Sisodia and his colleagues generated PS1-null mice whose phenotypes suggested, for the first time, that loss of PS activity was linked to defects in Notch signaling. Moreover, he showed that PS1-deficient cells fail to generate Aß amyloid peptides as a result of reduced intramembranous "?-secretase" activity. In parallel, he demonstrated that levels of PS are highly regulated by limiting cellular factors and provided important information regarding the assembly, subunit interactions and enzymatic mechanism(s) of "?-secretase" processing. Finally, Dr. Sisodia's group developed and characterized mice expressing FAD-linked variants of PS1 and APP that exhibit amyloid deposits and memory deficits. These models have been invaluable for understanding the role of environmental enrichment and exercise in modulating Aß metabolism and deposition in vivo. More recently, his laboratory has demonstrated that expression of FAD-linked PS1 impairs environmental enrichment-mediated proliferation and neuronal differentiation of hippocampal stem cells.

Dr. Sisodia has received several awards, including: the Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer's Disease Research from the American Academy of Neurology (1997); the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award for Medical Research (1998); Medical Honoree , Alzheimer's Association (2000); Presidential Special Lecturer at the Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting in 2001 and 2006; membership in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars (2007); and Fellow AAAS (2008). Dr. Sisodia has served on the scientific review and advisory committees of the federal and non-federal agencies, including: NLS1 (NIH) Study Section ('95-'97); Member, NIA Board of Scientific Counselors ('99-''04); SFN Program Committee (2007-). He has also organized or co-organized several Adler Symposia on Alzheimer's Disease, two Keystone Symposia, and was the co-director of the Cold Spring Harbor Neurobiology of Disease course ('97,'98). He serves on the Editorial Boards of eight journals, including Neuron, Cell and Neurobiology of Disease, and is a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and Faculty of 1000 Biology.

Wendy L. Stone, Ph.D.
Dr. Stone is Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington and the Director and Susan & Richard Fade Endowed Chair for the UW Autism Center. Her primary research and clinical interests are in early identification and early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders. Her research involves the characterization of early-emerging behavioral features of autism, with the goals of understanding the core deficits and mechanisms underlying development of the disorder, designing targeted interventions to prevent or attenuate the expression of symptoms, and identifying developmental pathways and risk/protective factors that contribute to variability in social, learning, and behavioral outcomes for children at elevated risk. She has received federal funding for this research since 1993. Her research with young children has led to the development of the Screening Tool for Autism in Two-Year-Olds (STAT), which is now being adapted for use at younger ages. Current research projects include the social-emotional development of infant siblings of children with autism, the identification of social-communicative and electrophysiological markers for autism in children under 24 months, and the evaluation of a parent-implemented intervention for young children at risk for autism.

Dr. Stone has authored many papers on the early identification, assessment, and follow-up of young children with autism. She is the author of a book for parents entitled, Does My Child Have Autism? and co-edited a book entitled Social and Communication Development in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She serves on the editorial boards of Autism Research and Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and has participated in numerous work groups and ad hoc review panels for NIH and autism foundations. She is a member of the Autism Speaks' Baby Siblings Research Consortium and Toddler Treatment Network. Dr. Stone is committed to translational science, and has worked to enhance knowledge and service capacity within community settings, through provision of training and outreach activities for pediatricians, teachers, and other community professionals.

Helen Tager-Flusberg, Ph.D.
Dr. Tager-Flusberg is Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Laboratory of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston University. She received her Bachelors in Science in Psychology from University College London, and her doctorate in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University in 1978. Dr. Tager-Flusberg has conducted research on autism for over 30 years, investigating language, theory of mind and related social cognitive aspects of this disorder. The main goals of her research are to identify neurocognitive phenotypic markers or subtypes that will facilitate research on the underlying genetics of autism and related disorders, and to explore the developmental trajectories and infant risk markers using behavioral and neurophysiological methods. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Autism Speaks, the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. She is a member of the Steering Committee for the Boston-based Autism Consortium and serves on the Executive Committee for the Autism Speaks sponsored Baby Sibling Research Consortium. Dr. Tager-Flusberg serves on the editorial board of several professional journals (including Autism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and Autism Research), and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and the British Journal of Psychology.

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.
Dr. Rudolph Tanzi is the Joseph and Rose Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Neurology at Harvard University and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, consisting of eight laboratories in the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Tanzi has been investigating the molecular genetics of human neurodegenerative and psychiatric disease since 1980 when he participated in the pioneering study at MGH that led to location of the Huntington's disease gene, the first disease gene to be found by genetic linkage analysis. Since 1982, Dr. Tanzi has focused his studies on Alzheimer's disease (AD) and since 1997, autism spectrum disorders. He isolated the first familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) gene, known as the amyloid ß-protein (A4) precursor (APP) in 1987, and another in 1995, called presenilin 2. He also collaborated on the isolation of the second FAD gene, presenilin 1. In 1993, Dr. Tanzi isolated the gene responsible for the neurological disorder known as Wilson's disease, and over the past 25 years, he has collaborated on studies identifying several other neurodegenerative disease genes including those causing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neurofibromatosis. Dr. Tanzi is currently carrying out genome wide association screens to identify novel genes associated with both AD and autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Tanzi is also a co-founder of the "Metal hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease". His laboratory first discovered that the metals zinc and copper are necessary for the formation of neurotoxic assemblies of the AD-associated peptide, Aß, the main component of ß-amyloid deposits in brains of AD patients. These studies have led to successful clinical trials for treating and preventing AD by targeting Aß metal interactions. Dr. Tanzi has also been involved in the first efforts to develop gamma-secretase modulators as therapeutics for AD.

Dr. Tanzi has co-authored over 340 research articles and reviews, including three of the top ten most cited papers in AD research. He is also a co-author of a popular trade book on Alzheimer's disease entitled Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease. Dr. Tanzi has received several awards for his work including the two highest awards for Alzheimer's disease research: The Metropolitan Life Foundation Award and The Potamkin Prize. He has also received a Pew Scholarship, the Alzheimer's Association T.L.L.Temple Award, the Reagan National Alzheimer's Disease Research Award, an NIH MERIT Award, the "Oneness of Humanity" Global Award, previously won by Hillary Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev. In 2007, he was included on the list of the "Harvard 100: Most Influential Alumni" of over 240,000 living alumni. His invited honorary lectures include a Nobel Forum Lecture, AAAS keynote lecture, Grass Lecture, Smithsonian Institution Distinguished Lecture in Genomics, and the Society for Neuroscience Public Lecture. Dr. Tanzi is an AAAS Fellow, serves as Chairman of the Cure Alzheimer's Fund Research Consortium, is a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, and serves on over 40 editorial and scientific advisory boards.

Roberta F. White, Ph.D.
Roberta F. White, Ph.D., ABPP/cn, is Associate Dean for Research at Boston University School of Public Health, where she is also Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health. Trained in clinical psychology and lifespan developmental psychology with specialization in clinical neuropsychology, she has worked as a scientist practitioner for the past 30 years. Her research work has focused largely on the effects of exposure to environmental contaminants on brain structure and function. Using neuropsychological test outcomes and neuroimaging as probes to document the central nervous system effects of these exposures, she has studied adult, prenatal and childhood exposure to methylmercury, lead, and organic solvents. This work has informed and affected policy decisions of governmental agencies regarding acceptable exposure limits for these substances. With her colleague Dr. Edward Baker, she wrote the World Health Organization guidelines for diagnosis of brain disorders stemming from exposure to solvents. She is well known for her research into Gulf War-related illnesses, in which she has documented the excess occurrence of health problems in this veteran population and the specific effects of exposure to nerve gas agents, pesticides and pyridostigmine bromide on neuropsychological and brain imaging outcomes. This work has had important implications for Gulf War veterans' compensation and treatment. (Currently she is the Scientific Director of the Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses, which reviews the VA research effort in this area). Dr. White has also worked in the area of genetically based neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementias. Her research has resulted in over 150 publications. Her clinical work has involved neuropsychological assessment and consultation with patients of all ages and led to a book on differential diagnosis of neuropsychological disorders, as well as a number of papers and book chapters. She has trained psychologists, physicians, neuroscientists and environmental health specialists at the doctoral, post-doctoral and internship levels and teaches clinical neuropsychology and toxicology.

Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, M.D.
Dr. Zwaigenbaum is Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, the Co-director of the Autism Research Centre based at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, and is the current chair of the Autism Speaks Baby Siblings Research Consortium. He holds an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Health Research (AHFMR) Health Scholar and Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award. Dr. Zwaigenbaum's research focuses on early behavioral and biological markers and early developmental trajectories in children with autism and related disorders. Together with Dr. Susan Bryson, he has led the Canadian Infant Sibling Study, which has contributed important data on early behavioral signs of autism, as well as a novel assessment measure designed for at-risk infants and toddlers. He is also an editor for Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice. Dr. Zwaigenbaum completed his clinical fellowship in developmental pediatrics at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 1994 and obtained a Masters Degree in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University in 2002, where he was on faculty for 8 years prior to moving to the University of Alberta.