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Portraits of scientists who are making a mark on autism research.

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September 2009
News / Profiles

Michael Wigler: Applying simple logic to complex genetics

by  /  18 September 2009

Interested more in ideas than in dominating a crowded field, Michael Wigler decided to apply his expertise in cancer genetics to studying poorly understood features of autism.

2 Comments
March 2009
News / Profiles

Raphael Bernier: Decoding the mysteries of the autistic brain

by  /  16 March 2009

In the spring of 2002, as a new graduate student at the University of Washington, Raphael Bernier was charged with introducing his advisor, Geraldine Dawson, before her lecture to a room of about 40 people from the psychology department. To Dawson’s astonishment, Bernier sang his introduction to the tune of On Top of Old Smokey. “[It was] a pretty gutsy thing for a first-year student to do,” Dawson says.

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February 2009
News / Profiles

Daniel Geschwind: After many detours, on the trail of autism’s genetics

by  /  17 February 2009

In the late 1990s, after Daniel Geschwind had established himself as an expert on the genetics of neurological diseases, a personal connection abruptly pulled him into autism research. Since then, he has participated in dozens of studies probing the genetic basis of autism and related neuro-developmental disorders.

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January 2009
News / Profiles

Rebecca Saxe: Fine tuning the theory of mind

by  /  26 January 2009

Rebecca Saxe has been designing brain imaging experiments to study infant brain development, moral judgment and theory of mind in people with autism, who often have trouble grasping othersʼ thoughts.

1 Comment
November 2008
News / Profiles

John Constantino: Educating communities about autism’s complexities

by  /  3 November 2008

In the fall of 1980, when he left his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, for undergraduate studies at Cornell University in upstate New York, John Constantino was determined to pursue one of two careers: a doctor or a school teacher.

1 Comment
June 2008
News / Profiles

Cathy Lord: Setting standards for autism diagnosis

by  /  30 June 2008

In the late 1960s, as an undergraduate student in psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, Cathy Lord spent a couple of hours a day teaching two young boys with autism.

1 Comment
May 2008
News / Profiles

Christopher Walsh: Solving mysteries of the mind in the Middle East

by  /  13 May 2008

At first glance, the waiting room at the Ministry of Health Hospital in Muscat, Oman, may look different than that of your average American hospital. Men dressed all in white and women in black burqas wait in separate rooms, even if they are members of the same family. But talking to these families soon reveals just how similar they are to their American counterparts, says Christopher Walsh, a neurologist who has studied neurodevelopmental disorders in the Middle East for nearly 10 years.

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News / Profiles

Ami Klin & Warren Jones: Melding art and science for autism

by  /  6 May 2008

Sitting on a sofa in his office at the Yale Child Study Center, Ami Klin plays a movie clip on a tiny laptop. The clip stars a younger Klin, with larger glasses but the same easy smile, vying for the attention of a young girl with autism. His face inches from hers, he speaks in a warm, animated voice. But the girl never looks from the toy blocks in her hands. Suddenly, she spots an orange M&M in the far corner of the room and scoots after it.

3 Comments
January 2008
News / Profiles

Josh Huang: In dogged pursuit of autism’s off switch

by  /  3 January 2008

In 1982, Josh Huang was an impressionable young biology undergraduate at Shanghaiʼs FuDan University. Like some of his fellow Chinese students, he knew he wanted to be a neuroscientist, but with limited access to scientific journals, had no idea which big questions were then at the forefront of research.

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December 2007
News / Profiles

Gordon Fishell: Oracle’s gift to autism

by  /  7 December 2007

Along with answering fundamental questions about mammalian brain organization, watching interneurons’ “handshake” with other brain cells is the key to understanding autism, says Gordon Fishell.

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