Speaker:Eunioon Kim, PhD.

Director,Center for Synaptic Brain Dysfunctions, Institute for Basic Science (IBS), 

Professor,Department of Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Title: NMDAR dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders

Time: 14:00-15:00,  Tuesday, July 25th

Venue: Youcai Deng Hall, School of Life Sciences

Host: Prof. Xiang Yu


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) represent neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social and repetitive behavioral deficits. Previous studies using mouse models of ASD have suggested various underlying mechanisms, including synaptic deficits. NMDA receptor (NMDAR) dysfunction is one of the key mechanisms that are thought to contribute to ASD. However, there are many aspects of the NMDAR dysfunction hypothesis that remain to be clarified. For instance, it is unclear whether this hypothesis is applicable to a large proportion of ASD-risk genes. In addition, little is known about the spatiotemporal aspects of NMDAR dysfunctions, including cell-type-specific NMDAR dysfunctions and temporal changes of NMDAR dysfunction across different embryonic and postnatal stages. Moreover, it is unclear how NMDAR dysfunctions are initially caused by ASD-risk gene mutations and these initial changes lead to secondary synaptic, neuronal, and circuit changes in the mutant brain. Lastly, current NMDAR modulators evoke substantial side effects, suggesting the need for better ways for NMDAR modulation. This presentation will cover these aspects of the NMDAR dysfunction hypothesis for ASD.