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Autism Symposium to feature talk by best-selling author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Best-selling author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan will address the decades-long civil rights battles of families affected by autism as a keynote speaker at Upstate Medical University’s Autism Symposium 2017: Where We Are, Where We Are Going,” to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, April 18 and 19, in the fourth floor auditorium in the Academic Building. The symposium is free and open to the public.

April is National Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a developmental disability that affects one in 68 children, often affecting their ability to learn, communicate and interact with others. There is no known cure or cause for autism.

Day one of the symposium is geared to the general public. In addition to Donvan’s address, experts in the field of autism will offer an overview of the latest information on autism, including research, treatment and advocacy efforts. Day two of the symposium is geared to the scientific community and features the nation’s leading scientists in the field of autism research, who will discuss their investigations and findings.

“We hope that people come away from this symposium with a clearer picture of the many advances that are being made in the field of autism--advances made through research, changed perceptions and advocacy. We also want those in the scientific community to gain insight into various autism research investigations and how these studies can lead to greater understanding of autism and how to treat it,” said symposium coordinator Barry Knox, PhD, professor and chair of Neuroscience and Physiology, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and ophthalmology at Upstate.

- April 18. 3 to 5:45 p.m. Free, geared to the general public.

John Donvan will speak at 3:15 p.m in the fourth floor auditorium of the Academic Building. His talk is titled after his latest book, In a Different Key: the Story of Autism, co-authored with Caren Zucker. In a Different Key tells the story of autism and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it traces the history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism--by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.

- Stephan Sanders, MD, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, will present “Finding the genetic causes of autism” (4:15 p.m.) Sanders’ work has helped characterize the role of de novo mutation in the etiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and identified multiple ASD risk points including duplications of the 7q11.23 William’s Syndrome region and mutations in the sodium channel gene SCN2A.

- John Spiro, PhD, senior associate director for research at Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), will present “The landscape of research in Autism Spectrum Disorder” (5 p.m.) Spiro will discuss the work of SFARI--to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by driving, catalyzing and funding research of the greatest quality and relevance.

A reception will follow Spiro’s presentation.

 

- April 19. 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free, geared to the scientific community. Poster session and reception at 4 p.m.

Leading experts in the field of autism research will discuss their work and findings at this session. Speakers include: Steven Hicks, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Penn State University and a graduate of Upstate Medical University’s MD/PhD program; Gahan Pandina, PhD, senior director of Compound Development Team Leader at Janssen Research & Development, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; Joseph Dougherty, PhD, assistant professor of genetics and of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis; Janine LaSalle, PhD, professor of medical microbiology and immunology at UC Davis Genome Center, UC Davis MIND Institute; Weirui Guo, PhD, postdoctoral associate at UT Southwestern; Randall Carpenter, MD, chief scientific officer at Rett Syndrome Research Trust; Brian Howell, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience and physiology at Upstate Medical University; and  Arthur Beaudet, MD, the Henry and Emma Meyer Distinguished Service Professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

April is National Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a developmental disability that affects one in 68 children, often affecting their ability to learn, communicate and interact with others. There is no known cure or cause for autism.

The Autism Symposium 2017 is presented by Upstate’s Program in Neuroscience and sponsored by the Department of Neuroscience & Physiology, Upstate Medical University.

For the schedule of events, visit Neurosymposium. Visit Neuroscience to register.  For more information, contact Wendi Burnette, 315-464-7752, burnettw@upstate.edu.

Caption: Best-selling author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan will address the decades-long civil rights battles of families affected by autism as a keynote speaker at Upstate Medical University’s Autism Symposium 2017.

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