NeuroDevNet and Israeli researchers collaborate at first joint ASD Symposium

March 4, 2014
The First Canada-Israel Autism (ASD) Research Symposium brought together researchers in autism from the two countries to discuss recent research and the impact of these studies on families and communities.

Gathering at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem March 2-4, researchers from both countries presented their findings and explored potential for bi-national collaboration. 
In media coverage of the event in Israel, ASD Research Group co-lead Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum commented that “we share a lot of interests and sensibility. There’s a real focus on individuals with autism and trying to improve diagnosis and treatment. That’s very much the focus of this conference. We are sharing our success and trying to understand the differences in the service system and how we bring it into practice.” Zwaigenbaum was one of two Canadian members of the conference’s Scientific Program Committee, along with Toronto resident Connie Putterman, who has a child with autism.
Drs. Peter Szatmari, Albert Chudley, Evdokia Anagnostou, and Jonathan Weiss, all members of NeuroDevNet’s FASD and ASD research teams chaired conference sessions focusing on  genetics and epigenetics, lessons for ASD from other NDDs, Prenatal causes of ASD, and a public forum looking at treatment and early diagnosis. Associate investigator Rosanna Weksberg also served as a session chair.
Investigator Dr. Tim Oberlander presented a talk on prenatal SSRI exposure and ASD, while Dr. Wendy Roberts provided an overview of ASD Service Models and Family Experience in Canada. Dr. Zwaigenbaum spoke on early detection and diagnosis of ASD drawing on insights from high risk infant studies.
Isael’s newly appointed chief scientist Nurit Yirmiya, a professor of psychology at Hebrew University who has worked in the field of autism for the past 30 years, spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, saying, “I hope that we will be able to bring this level of cooperation into a government to government agreement and that autism will be part of the agreement with Canada.”
Creating and fostering partnerships in ASD research between Canadians and Israelis was one of the specific goals of the gathering, along with highlighting important directions for research and effective treatment before an international audience.

Source: story by Linda Gradstein: "Israelis and Canadians Cooperate on Autism"
Published March 4, 2014
Published Tuesday, March 04, 2014