Canadian Researcher, Steve Scherer, named to Autism Speaks' Scientific Advisory Committee



    NEW YORK, June 18 /CNW/ - Autism Speaks, North America's largest
organization dedicated to funding and facilitating autism research, announced
today that it has named nine new members to its Scientific Advisory Committee
(SAC), a group of scientific and medical experts who will help shape Autism
Speaks' strategic plan for science and research priorities.
    In 2007, Autism Speaks awarded more than $30 million in science grants to
fund research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism across the
U.S., Canada and other countries in the world. The organization will be
announcing the latest round of research grants in the treatment and
basic/clinical categories in the coming weeks. Since 1998, over $5.8 million
has been granted to the Canadian autism research community by Autism Speaks.
    Steve Scherer, Ph.D., is Senior Scientist in the Department Genetics and
Genomic Biology at SickKids Hospital, and Associate Professor, Department of
Molecular and Medical Genetics, University of Toronto in Canada.

    
    Eight other new members named to the Autism Speaks' SAC are as follows:

    -   Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., is the Chair of the SAC and the Chief
        Science Officer of Autism Speaks. She is currently on the faculty in
        the Department of Psychiatry at University of North Carolina at
        Chapel Hill. Prior to joining Autism Speaks, Dr. Dawson served as
        Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center, an
        NIH Autism Center of Excellence.

    -   Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Neurology at
        Harvard Medical School and is a Pediatric Neurologist at
        Massachusetts General Hospital. She is also Director of the TRANSCEND
        (Treatment Research and Neuroscience Evaluation of Neurodevelopmental
        Disorders) Research Program.

    -   Craig Newschaffer, Ph.D., is Professor and Chairman of the Department
        of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University School of
        Public Health. Dr. Newschaffer's research focuses on monitoring the
        prevalence of autism spectrum disorders, and also how particular
        genes might interact with environmental exposures to increase the
        risk of autism. He recently began working with Peking University to
        study autism in China. Dr. Newschaffer is the father of a child with
        an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    -   Martin Raff, M.D., is Professor at the Medical Research Council
        Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and Cell Biology Unit and in
        the Biology Department at University College London. A world-renowned
        researcher of immunology, cell biology, and developmental
        neurobiology, Dr. Raff is the grandfather of a child with an ASD.

    -   Glenn Rall, Ph.D., is Associate Professor, Division of Basic Science,
        University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Rall is
        internationally recognized for his studies of viral infection of the
        central nervous system.

    -   Ezra S. Susser, M.D., Dr. P.H., is Chair, Department of Epidemiology
        and Professor of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons and
        Co-Director, Statistics and Epidemiology, HIV Center for Clinical and
        Behavior Studies (NYSPI) at Columbia University. His research focuses
        on the epidemiology of mental disorders and examines the role of
        early life experiences.

    -   Roberto Tuchman, M.D., is the Founder of the Miami Children's
        Hospital Dan Marino Center and Director of the Dan Marino ChildNETT
        (Neurodevelopmental Evaluation and Treatment Teams). He is a Clinical
        Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Miami School of
        Medicine and is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Nova Southeastern
        University.

    -   Stephen T. Warren, Ph.D., is Chair of the Department of Human
        Genetics at Emory University. Dr. Warren was instrumental in the
        discovery of the fragile X gene in 1991, and his research into
        fragile X continues today. Dr. Warren is a Diplomat of the American
        Board of Medical Genetics with subspecialty certification in both
        clinical cytogenetics and clinical molecular genetics.
    

    Returning members of the SAC are: David Baskin, M.D., F.A.C.S, Methodist
Neurological Institute in Houston Texas; Joseph Coyle, M.D., McLean Hospital,
Harvard Medical School; Daniel Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., David Geffen School of
Medicine at UCLA; Gary Goldstein, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer,
Kennedy Krieger Institute and Professor, Johns Hopkins University's School of
Medicine and School of Hygiene and Public Health; and Eric London, M.D.,
Director of Autism Treatment Research at the New York State Institute for
Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities and director of the newly created
New York State Autism Consortium. He is also the co-founder of the National
Alliance for Autism Research, which merged with Autism Speaks in 2006.
    "We are greatly indebted to this top notch team of scientists and
physicians who will help guide our scientific vision and priorities at Autism
Speaks," said Dr. Geraldine Dawson, Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks.
"Their advice and perspective will be used to identify goals and strategies
that will accelerate the pace of autism research."
    For complete bios on each member of the Autism Speaks Scientific Advisory
Committee, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

    About Autism

    Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to
communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by
extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one
in 150 children affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of
autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in the United States have called autism a national
public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

    About Autism Speaks

    Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum
disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for
autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their
families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the
grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee
Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief
executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. Wright
also serves on the board of directors of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation,
RAND Corporation and Mission Product, LLC. To learn more about Autism Speaks,
please visit www.autismspeaks.org.





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For further information: Adam Pockriss, Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
P: (212) 843-8286, E: apockriss@rubenstein.com

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