Today, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced the appointment of Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Rob Ring as a new public member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The committee advises the government on federally funded autism research and related activities. It also provides a forum for public input on these issues.
Dr. Ring’s appointment accompanies that of Wendy Chung, director of clinical research for the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). The two organizations are the largest private funders of autism research in the United States.
“Both Dr. Ring and Dr. Chung will be important additions to the committee, given the depth of their scientific and clinical experience and their dedication to improving the lives of people on the autism spectrum,” says Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health and chair of the IACC.
“Advances in autism research have brought the field to an exciting moment in its history, where breakthroughs are increasingly poised to return tangible benefits for those with autism and their families,” Dr. Ring says. “At Autism Speaks, our science mission has long strived to ensure investments in research across the field are best aligned to deliver support for the diverse behavioral, medical and educational needs of our community. Serving on IACC will only broaden the opportunities for me to help put science to work for our families.”
Adds Autism Speaks President Liz Feld: "We look forward to working with the members of the IACC to advance the issues of the autism community – from diagnosis throughout the lifespan."
A career in translational science
Dr. Ring has served as Autism Speaks chief science officer since June 2013. Previously he served as the organization’s vice president of translational research and the head of Delivering Scientific Innovation for Autism (DELSIA), Autism Speaks’ venture philanthropy affiliate.
Dr. Ring also led Autism Speaks’ collaboration with the Simons Foundation to launch the Autism BrainNet, a privately funded multisite brain-banking effort that is advancing research into the causes and treatment of ASD. Dr. Ring holds adjunct faculty appointments in psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and in pharmacology and physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine. Prior to Autism Speaks, he served as head of the Autism Research Unit at Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development.