UCLA professor wins NAM award for pioneering research and leadership in autism genetics


Dr. Daniel Geschwind, the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, Neurology and Psychiatry at UCLA, was awarded the Nationwide Academy of Medication’s (NAM) 2022 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat Worldwide Prize in Psychological Well being in recognition of his pioneering analysis and management in autism genetics.

The Sarnat Prize, which features a medal and a $20,000 prize, is NAM’s highest honor associated to the mind and psychological well being. Geschwind, who was elected to the elite panel in 2011, will obtain the award at NAM’s annual assembly on Oct. 16.

In its award announcement, NAM credited Geschwind with shaping the trendy period of analysis in autism genetics by serving to to create and lead the Autism Genetic Useful resource Trade (AGRE) with the Remedy Autism Now basis, the primary open-access useful resource for analysis on autism spectrum dysfunction (ASD) that was relied on by scientists around the globe. The repository of medical and genetic data, based in 1997, has led to discoveries in autism genetics, together with the function of uncommon mutations and inherited variation, and created a mannequin for a way scientists can work collaboratively to speed up analysis in psychiatric genetics.

The NAM award additionally acknowledges Geschwind, the director of the UCLA Middle for Autism Analysis and Remedy, for his laboratory’s extremely influential analysis that has formed our understanding of autism. His work has centered on translating genetic findings to organic understanding broadly throughout mind problems. In ASD, this contains his formulation of the dysfunction as a developmental disconnection syndrome. He pioneered the research of language and social endophenotypes in genetic research and demonstrated how transcriptomic and epigenetic profiling could possibly be used to outline the molecular pathology in ASD mind and different neuropsychiatric problems. These latter research have offered a roadmap for understanding the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric problems extra broadly. Geschwind over the past decade has additionally sought to spice up inclusion of underrepresented teams in autism analysis, which incorporates main the one research of autism genetics in African Individuals.

Dr. Geschwind’s pioneering work has proven how analysis can assist us meet the problem of neurologic and psychiatric problems by figuring out how they might be genetically pushed, and his creation of AGRE demonstrated the facility of neighborhood sources to increase these vital analysis efforts. His transformational work -; together with his efforts to make analysis on ASD extra inclusive -; makes him extremely deserving of this recognition.”

Victor J. Dzau, Nationwide Academy of Medication President

“This award is a testomony to the setting at UCLA that has supported my laboratory’s efforts all of those years and the scholars and post-docs which were concerned in driving this work ahead,” Geschwind stated.

The Sarnat Prize, awarded yearly since 1992, acknowledges people or teams which have demonstrated excellent achievement in bettering psychological well being. The latest recipient from UCLA was Dr. Kenneth Wells, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences on the David Geffen College of Medication, who in 2018 was honored for his work bettering psychological well being in underserved communities.

The Sarnat Prize is the second main current award for Geschwind after he acquired the American Academy of Neurology’s prime honor for analysis, the Cotzias Award, within the spring.

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