Kelsey Martin - The evolving landscape of autism research

Event Details:

Thursday, May 9, 2024
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12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT
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Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute and the Department of Psychiatry and Brain Sciences | Psychiatry Grand Rounds
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Join the speaker for coffee, cookies, and conversation before the talk, starting at 11:45am.

The evolving landscape of autism research


The Simons Foundation was founded by Jim and Marilyn Simons in 1994 with a mission of advancing the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. Launched in 2006 as an initiative within the Simons Foundation, the Simons Foundation Initiative for Autism Research (SFARI) is aimed at advancing the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance. SFARI advances autism research through its grant-funding activities, by convening the autism research community in workshops and meetings and through the creation of an array of shared resources, spanning from large autism cohorts to biospecimens, biological models, databases and data analysis tools. Autism cohorts created and supported by SFARI have been particularly powerful in enabling the elucidation of the genetic architecture of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. My talk will provide an overview of SFARI’s history and accomplishments, ongoing current opportunities, and will address future strategic priorities. I will place SFARI’s work within the context of the Simons Foundation, and will provide updates on the Simons Neuroscience Collaborations, including the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain and the Simons Collaboration on Plasticity and the Aging Brain.


This seminar is co-presented by the Psychiatry Grand Rounds | Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Kelsey Martin, M.D., Ph.D.

Simons Foundation | University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Kelsey Martin, MD, PhD is Executive Vice President of the Simons Foundation Autism and Neuroscience programs. In this role, she supports large-scale basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience research around the globe. She is also a Professor Emeritus on Active Recall in the Department of Biological Chemistry at UCLA, where her research lab studies the molecular and cell biology of long-term memory, with a focus on how experience alters connectivity between neurons. Her laboratory has pioneered studies on the regulation of gene expression within neurons during long-term memory formation, highlighting a critical role for signaling between the synapse and nucleus and for local regulation of protein synthesis at the synapse. Deeply committed to academic medicine, Dr. Martin served as Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA from 2015-2021. As Dean, she established programs in precision health and computational medicine, founded a master’s program in genetic counseling, and developed a series of interdepartmental research initiatives spanning basic through clinical research. 

After receiving a BA in English from Harvard, Dr. Martin was a public health Peace Corps volunteer in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She then pursued MD/PhD training at Yale University, receiving her MD and her PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry in 1992. She undertook postdoctoral training in neurobiology with Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel at Columbia University and joined the UCLA faculty in 1999. Among her service roles, Dr. Martin is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience and is a member of the Board of Directors of the W. M. Keck Foundation, National Academy of Medicine Council and HHMI Scientific Review Board. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine in 2016.


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Hosted by - Karen J. Parker, Ph.D. (Parker Lab)


About the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Seminar Series

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute seminar series brings together the Stanford neuroscience community to discuss cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond.

Topics include new discoveries in fundamental neurobiology; advances in human and translational neuroscience; insights from computational and theoretical neuroscience; and the development of novel research technologies and neuro-engineering breakthroughs.

Unless otherwise noted, seminars are held Thursdays at 12:00 noon PT.

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