Cortical network development and dynamics in autism spectrum disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), are a range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social communication and interaction deficits, as well as repetitive, restrictive behaviors, interests or activities. Several studies showed that in many instances the great number of genes implicated in neurological disorders converges on a much smaller number of biological pathways. Yet the link between genotype and phenotype is complex and how point mutations, insertions or deletions of specific genes affect the behavior and why the same mutations give rise to a spectrum of deficits are still open questions. In the last years, we had discovered and studied a number of ASD-risk genes. In my talk I will present examples of how generating and analyzing mouse models for ASD-associated mutation can lead to a better understanding of this group of neuropsychiatric disorders and the development of the mammalian cortex.