I am a child neurologist who studies basic mechanisms of brain development in rodent models as well as cell culture systems. Our work has focused on signals that regulate precursor proliferation, cell cycle exit, survival and differentiation. These studies are performed in neuronal precursors in cerebellum (granule neurons), cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and symaptheitc and sensory ganglion systems. We have studied the effects of extracellualr signals (bFGF, IGF1, PACAP), enviromental factors (methylmercury and lead), drugs (valproic acid) on developmental processes in culture and in vivo. We define signaling systems, such as second messengers, as well as cell cycle proteins and the related mRNAs. Recent studies focus on autism and schizophrenia related genes and microRNAs, using under- and over-expression models in vitro (transfection), in embryonic cerebral cortex in vivo (electroporation), and genetically modified mouse mutants.
I have long served the autism community, providing scientific expertise to National Alliance for Autism Research; Autism Speak’s Inc Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Committee and current Scientific Advisory Board (SAB); the SAB of the Autism Science Foundation; the Scientific Review Panel of Autistica-UK; and Executive Committee and Tissue Advisory Board of Autism Tissue Program. I was Chair of the Scientific Program Committee of the 2008 IMFAR meeting and Co-Chair for 2010. I served on N.J. Governor’s Council on Autism Research; was Chair of N.J. Commission on Brain Injury Research; am on the SAB of the International Rett Syndrome Foundation; and Public Education and Communication Committee of Society for Neuroscience. I serve on editorial boards of Autism Research, Molecular Autism, and other developmental neuroscience journals.