2010 John Merck Fund Summer Institute on the Biology of Developmental Disabilities

Directors: BJ Casey & Barbara Finlay


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The tenth annual John Merck Fund Summer Institute on the Biology of Developmental Disabilities was held the week of June 21-25, 2010 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. This year’s week-long course focused on important developments in evolutionary biology that have direct implications for how we conceptualize the nature and treatment of developmental disorders. Themes of the course included development from an evolutionary and societal context, phenotyping, and evolution-based disease and animal models. Participants benefited from lectures given by internationally renowned scientists and will participate in didactic interactions with the speakers on each methodology described. The institute is geared toward graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and provides small travel stipends, room, and partial board for attendees.



2010 PROGRAM

Except for opening day, all lectures will take place in the dining room of Hans Bethe House on west campus.
MONDAY, JUNE 21: OPENING DAY
5:00 pm Opening reception and dinner at AD White House (East Avenue, on campus).  
7:00 pm
Historical overview of Summer Institute and The John Merck Fund
 
7:15 pm
Overview of 2010 Summer Institute focus and themes
 
7:30 pm Student Introductions  
TUESDAY, JUNE 22: NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION AND HOW THEY INFORM MODELS OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS
9:00 am
Evolution evolving: Evo-devo, robust and strategic development, and what, if anything, is special about humans?
 
10:30 am
Why the history of the brain informs you about the development of the brain
 
12:00 pm Lunch on your own  
PHENOTYPING CORE FEATURES OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITES
2:00 pm
Autism-like behavioral phenotypes in genetically modified mice
 
3:30 pm
Behavioral diagnostics of autism
 
6:00 pm Informal dinner and activities with faculty
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23: CHOOSING YOUR PHENOTYPE IN THE CONTEXT OF DEVELOPMENT, SOCIETY AND EVOLUTION
9:00 am
Social class and adolescence through an evolutionary lens
 
10:30 am
The neurobiology of adolescence in society and evolution
 
12:00 pm Lunch on your own  
DISEASE AND ANIMAL MODELS FROM AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE  
2:00 pm
An evolutionary genetic framework for heritable disorders
 
3:30 pm
Development of emotion and emotional communication in “the chimpanzee” and “the human”
 
THURSDAY, JUNE 24: HUMAN SOCIETY AS AN EVOLUTIONARY TRANSITION
9:00 am
Fools rush in: The ultimate and proximate bases of active altruism
 
10:30 am
Neural re-use as a fundamental organizational principle of the brain
 
12:00 pm Lunch on your own  
GENETICS: PROMISES AND LIMITATIONS  
2:00 pm
Genomics of the evolutionary process
 
From human imaging to mouse genetics
 
Bottoms-up: working up the phenotypic ladder from molecule to disorder
 
5:00 pm Group picture, gala and debate at Carriage House  
FRIDAY, JUNE 25: CLOSING ADDRESS
9:30 am
Social communication in autism: genes, brain and behavior
 
11:00 am
Closing remarks and course evaluations
 
Address
Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Box 140, 1300 York Avenue NY, NY 10065
Phone
212.746.4886
Fax
212.746.5755