Scientific Advisory Committee
David Baskin, M.D.
Dr. Baskin is a member of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Methodist Hospital Neurological Institute. He joined the Neurological Institute after serving as Professor of Neurosurgery and Anesthesiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, for 21 years. Dr. Baskin graduated from Swarthmore College with high honors in the Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering. He attended the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York and then received his surgical and neurosurgical training at the University of California in San Francisco. During his training, he was a research associate at the University of Capetown in South Africa, where he won the American Academy of Neurosurgery Award. He has an active practice, performing surgeries on over 350 patients a year. He specializes in microsurgery of the brain and spine and has been a pioneer in pituitary surgery, having performed approximately 2000 transsphenoidal operations. He also performs brain and spinal tumor surgeries, as well as complex cervical spine reconstructions. In addition, Dr. Baskin has been involved in the investigation of various ways to improve cervical spine fusions. His experience as it relates to autism includes the study of basic cellular disturbances in the immune system of autistic children and how toxins and other environmental triggers may contribute to the pathophysiology of the disorder. Baskin is the father of a child with autism spectrum disorder.
Joseph Coyle, M.D. served as Chairman of the Consolidated Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School from 1991 to 2001. He now holds the Eben S. Draper Chair of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Harvard. He received his MD degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1969. Following an internship in pediatrics, he spent three years at the National Institutes of Health as a research fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner Julius Axelrod, Ph.D. He returned to Hopkins in 1973 to complete his Psychiatric residency, in which he is board certified, and joined the faculty. In 1980 he was promoted to Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry; and in 1982 he assumed the Directorship of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, being named the Distinguished Service Professor in 1985. Dr. Coyle is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a fellow of the American College of Psychiatry and served on the National Advisory Mental Health Council for the National Institute of Mental Health. He is President-Elect of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and is a Past President (1991) of the Society for Neuroscience. He has been named the Editor-in-Chief of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D. served as Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center before joining Autism Speaks as Chief Science Officer in 2008. Dr. Dawson received a B.S. and Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA. Dawson served on the faculty at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until 1985, when she returned to Seattle where she has been Professor of Psychology at UW. Dr. Dawson has had an active career as a scientist and clinician specializing in research on the causes and treatment of autism and the effects of experience on early brain development. She has received continuous NIH funding for her research on autism since 1980. She is on the Editorial Boards of Development and Psychopathology, Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and Autism Research, and serves on the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Scientific Advisory Panel. Dr. Dawson has published numerous articles on autism spanning a wide range of topics including early detection, genetics, neuroimaging, and early intervention, and has edited or authored several books, including Autism: Nature, Diagnosis, and Treatment, Human Behavior, Learning, and the Developing Brain, and A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, among others. Dawson was Director of the University of Washington’s NIH CPEA, STAART, and ACE Centers, and Founding Director of the UW Autism Center, which consists of an NIH-funded, multi-disciplinary autism research program and a treatment program that provides diagnostic and intervention services for children with autism and their families, professional training, and outreach.
Daniel Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Geschwind is a Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Genetics, and Director of the Neurogenetics Program and Center for Autism Research at UCLA. He received an A.B. in chemistry, with a minor in psychology at Dartmouth College in 1982; MD and Ph.D degrees at Yale University School of Medicine (1991). He came to UCLA to do his neurology residency (1991-1995), where he remained to develop the program in neurogenetics. He received the 2004 Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association and serves on several review and advisory boards including: 1999-2004 Chair, Steering Committee, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange; 2002- Editorial board, Lancet Neurology; 2003-present, 2004-Chair, Education Committee, Society for Neuroscience; 2004- Associate Editor, Neurobiology of Disease; March of Dimes scientific review committee 2004-present. Dr. Geschwind’s laboratory performs studies on the genetic basis of human cognitive specializations from the perspective of normal development and diseases, including autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders and focal neurodegenerative syndromes, such as Frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The laboratory uses a wide variety of methods including molecular genetics, DNA microarrays, bio-informatics, cell culture and animal models. Working with other laboratories, his group is performing collaborative comparisons of human brain regions important in creative processes such as language with other species like the songbird, mouse, and non-human primates to help understand the unique, cognitive and creative abilities of the human.
Gary Goldstein, M.D.
Dr. Goldstein is President and Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Krieger Institute, one of the nation’s leading treatment centers for autism and other developmental disorders. He is Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Hygiene and Public Health. As one of the leading researchers of neurological functions and defects, Dr. Goldstein has helped gain international recognition for the Kennedy Krieger Institute through his studies of children with a wide range of disabilities, from rare genetic disorders to common learning problems. More than 13,000 children with disabilities visit the Kennedy Krieger Institute every year.
Dr. Herbert is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, a Pediatric Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a member of the MGH Center for Morphometric Analysis, and an affiliate of the Harvard-MIT-MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. She is also director of the TRANSCEND Research Program (Treatment Research and Neuroscience Evaluation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders). Dr. Herbert earned her medical degree at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Prior to her medical training she obtained a doctoral degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying evolution and development of learning processes in biology and culture, and then did postdoctoral work in the philosophy and history of science. She trained in pediatrics at Cornell University Medical Center and in neurology and child neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where she has remained.
Dr. London co-founded the National Alliance for Autism Research with his wife, Karen Margulis London, in July 1994. He is a psychiatrist in private practice in New Jersey with specializations in autism and related developmental disorders, substance dependence and geriatric psychiatry. London is also a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and also serves as consulting psychiatrist to Hunterdon Developmental Center in New Jersey. London received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Brandeis University and his M.D. from New York Medical College and is Board certified in psychiatry and neurology. He completed two research fellowships in geriatric psychiatry and has published on geriatric psychiatry, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. He currently lectures and publishes on autism and mental retardation. London is the father of a teenage son with autism.
Craig Newschaffer, Ph.D.
Dr. Newschaffer is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University School of Public Health. Dr. Newschaffer has recently joined the Drexel faculty, coming from the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Newschaffer founded and directed the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Epidemiology, one of five federally funded centers of excellence in autism epidemiology. Major initiatives included the development of methods for monitoring autism spectrum disorders prevalence and participation in the largest population-based epidemiologic study of autism risk factors to date – the National CADDRE Study of Autism and Child Development. Dr. Newschaffer is also engaged in other projects focusing on how particular genes might interact with environment exposures to increase autism risk. His recently began collaboration with Peking University to explore approaches for conducting epidemiologic research on autism in China. Dr. Newschaffer is an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology and a member of the editorial board of the journal, Developmental Epidemiology. Newschaffer is the father of a child with autism spectrum disorder.
Martin Raff, M.D.
Dr. Raff is a world renowned researcher of immunology, cell biology, and developmental neurobiology. Dr. Raff received his BS and MD degrees at McGill University and did a residency in medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He 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. Dr. Raff also served as President of the British Society of Cell Biology, 1991-1995, as well as Chairman of the UK Life Sciences Committee, 1998-2001. Martin Raff has been at the cutting edge of research for his entire scientific career. As a novice he published a seminal immunology paper in Nature and has capped off this, his retirement year, with a leading cell-cycle paper in Science, yet this consistently successful scientist, who is perhaps best known as a pioneer in advancing the field of apoptosis, has also come to be known as a person more often concerned with other people’s research careers than even his own. Raff is the grandfather of a child with autism spectrum disorder.
Glenn Rall, Ph.D.
Dr. Rall is Associate Professor, Division of Basic Science, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Rall received a BS with Honors in Biology in 1985 from Lafayette College and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University in 1990. Rall is internationally recognized for his studies of viral infection of the central nervous system.
Steve Scherer, Ph.D.
Dr. Scherer 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, where he received a Ph.D. in genetics in 1995. He has received numerous awards including the Scholarship of the Medical Research Council of Canada (1998); the Canadian Foundation for Innovation Researcher Award (1998); the Premiers Research Excellence Award (1999); Canadas Top 40 Under 40 Award for Contributions to Society (2000); an honorary degree from the University of Windsor, Ontario (2001); the Canadian Institutes of Advanced Research Explorer Award (2002); the Genetics Society of Canada Gold Medal (2002); an investigator fellowship of the Canadian Health Research Institute (2003); and the Steacie Prize in the Natural Sciences (2004).
Ezra S. Susser, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Dr. Susser is Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Professor of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons; Co-Director, Statistics and Epidemiology, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavior Studies (NYSPI) at Columbia University. Susser received an MD, Ph.D. from Columbia University. Dr. Susser’s primary research has been on the epidemiology of mental disorders and examining the role of early life experience in health and disease throughout the life course. His international collaborative birth cohort research program (The Imprints Center) seeks to uncover the causes of a broad range of disease and health outcomes, including psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and ADHD, obesity, cardiovascular disease, reproductive performance, and breast and ovarian cancers. Among the risk factors explored are prenatal exposures to infectious disease and toxic chemicals, childhood nutrition and environment, and genetics, as well as the interplay of genetic and environmental risk factors. Dr. Susser has also focused on public health initiatives regarding HIV/AIDS throughout his career, both locally and internationally. His work has addressed the health of inner city populations, examining relationships between homelessness, mental illness, and HIV/AIDS. He has fostered development of international partnerships, focusing on collaborative research, training, and building a public health infrastructure. He serves on the executive committee of the Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and was a key player in the development of MTCT-Plus, which addresses the treatment and care of HIV-infected women, their partners, and children in some of the world’s poorest communities. Under his leadership Columbia is a participant in the National Institutes of Health Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP.)
Roberto Tuchman, M.D., FAAN, FAAP
Dr. Tuchman is the director of the Autism Program at Miami Children’s Hospital and the consulting medical director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the University of Miami. He was the Founding Director of the Miami Children’s Hospital Dan Marino Center for children with autism and related developmental disorders serving as its executive medical director from its start in 1998 thru 2001. Dr. Tuchman is a member of three research groups in South Florida, the Miami Children’s Hospital Brain Institute, the Marino Autism Research Institute (MARI) at the University of the Miami, and the Miami Autism Genetic International Consortium (MAGIC) of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Human Genome Project. His research interest is in the relationship of epilepsy and autism. Dr. Tuchman is an Associate Professor of Neurology at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami Children’s Hospital. He earned his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology. He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Neurology.
Stephen T. Warren, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen T. Warren was instrumental in the discovery of the fragile X gene in 1991, and his research into fragile X continues today. He is currently the Chairman of the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University, which he founded in 2001. Dr. Warren received his PhD in Human Genetics from Michigan State University in 1981 and performed postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory prior to joining the faculty at Emory where he was an HHMI Investigator for over a decade. Dr. Warren is a Diplomat of the American Board of Medical Genetics with subspecialty certification in both clinical cytogenetics and clinical molecular genetics and a founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics. Dr. Warren has held various committee memberships in the American Society of Human Genetics and was elected to the President in 2006. He serves or has served on the editorial boards of the major journals in human genetics and is the former Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Human Genetics (1999-2005). Among his awards are the Albert E. Levy Faculty Award from Emory University, the William Rosen Research Award from the National Fragile X Foundation (awarded twice), a NIH MERIT award, the William Allan Award of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Herbert & Esther Bennett Brandwein Award in Genetic Research from the University of Connecticut, and the Outstanding Alumni Award from Michigan State University. In 2003, Dr. Warren was an Inaugural Inductee into the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Hall of Honor and in 2004 was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.