2016 Program

In 2016 the On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium celebrated the work of John L. R. Rubenstein, MD, PhD, Nina Ireland Distinguished Professor in Child Psychiatry and 2016 Child Mind Institute Distinguished Scientist Award Recipient.

The 2016 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium honoring John L. R. Rubenstein, MD, PhD, was held on October 25, 2016 at the New York Hilton Hotel.

The 2016 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium honored Dr. John L.R. Rubenstein, MD, PhD, with the Distinguished Scientist Award for his trailblazing studies of genetic influences on the development of the forebrain. His work has illuminated the role of genetics in the mental health and learning disorders that arise during early childhood while transforming the way the world understands brain development and mental illness. The symposium highlighted Dr. Rubenstein’s work as well as his influence on his protégées, Daniel Vogt of the University of California, San Francisco, and Stewart Anderson of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Full Frontal: Understanding Control and Implications of Brain and Frontal Cortex Development

John L. R. Rubenstein, MD, PhD

John Rubenstein, MD, PhD, is the Nina Ireland Distinguished Professor in Child Psychiatry at the Nina Ireland Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, where his research focuses on the regulatory genes that orchestrate development of the forebrain.

Dr. Rubenstein earned both an MD and a PhD in biophysics at Stanford University. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Pasteur Institute from 1984 to 1986 (with Francois Jacob and J.F. Nicolas) he was involved in the discovery that antisense RNA can inhibit gene expression and he has since investigated: organization of the embryonic forebrain; forebrain patterning centers and their regulation of cortical organization; transcription factors and enhancers that control regional and cell-type specification of brain subdivisions; differentiation, migration and function of GABAergic interneurons; translational studies of treatment for epilepsy; analyses of transcription factor mutations that may contribute to autism.

Inhibitions Can Be Fun: Inhibitory Neuronal Development and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Daniel Vogt, PhD

Daniel Vogt, PhD, is Assistant Researcher and manager of his own research program at the lab of John Rubenstein in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Vogt received his PhD in the Department of Neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University in 2007 after studying molecular biology, primary cell culture of postnatal primary neuronal cultures and explants, biochemistry techniques and confocal microscopy. He then did a postdoc in the Department of Neuroscience at the Cleveland Clinic, where he studied Alzheimer’s mouse models, behavioral analysis, immunohistochemistry and survival surgeries. At UCSF, Dr. Vogt has investigated the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the biology of neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorder. In 2017, Dr. Vogt will transition to the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at Michigan State University, where he will continue his research in neuropsychiatric disease risk genes and brain development.

Cortical Interneurons in Development and Disease

Stewart Anderson, MD

Stewart A. Anderson, MD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Research Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Anderson received his medical degree from the University of Connecticut and his undergraduate degree in neuroscience and psychology from Amherst College. He completed his residency training in psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, where he conducted research on the neuropathology of schizophrenia with Dr. David Lewis. Dr. Anderson’s laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern the development of the mammalian forebrain. Of particular interest are the molecular underpinnings behind the fate determination of subclasses of GABAergic interneurons implicated in the neuropathology of schizophrenia and autism. Dr. Anderson’s laboratory is also engaged in a major effort to generate cerebral cortical interneurons from mouse and human stem cells.

Bennett Leventhal, MD

Bennett Leventhal, MD, is the Director of Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Deputy Director of the Center for Autism Spectrum and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Leventhal received his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed his child and adolescent psychiatry training at Duke University, where he was chief resident and junior faculty member. Dr. Leventhal served for over two decades as Professor of Psychiatry & Pediatrics and as Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Chicago then transitioned to the Professor and Director of the Center for Child Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and the Institute for Juvenile Research. In 2014, Dr. Leventhal joined the University of California, San Francisco.

Matthew W. State, MD, PhD

Matthew State, MD, PhD, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and human geneticist who serves as the Oberndorf Family Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Director of the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute and member of the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Over the past 15 years, his laboratory has played a leading role in elaborating the contribution of rare mutations to the etiology of autism spectrum and Tourette disorders. Dr. State received his MD from Stanford University, completed a residency in psychiatry and fellowship in child psychiatry at UCLA and earned a PhD in genetics from Yale University, where he joined the faculty in 2001, until moving to UCSF in 2013.

Michael Milham, MD, PhD

Closing Remarks

Michael P. Milham, MD, PhD, is the founding director of the Center for the Developing Brain at the Child Mind Institute. He is a neuroscience researcher and practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist. Dr. Milham has worked to advance a Big Data research agenda in the neuroimaging community, which focuses on open data sharing as a means of achieving the large-scale samples needed to capture the broader range of presentations in psychiatry. Most recently, Dr. Milham founded the Child Mind Institute Healthy Brain Network — an initiative aiming to create a large-scale (10,000 participants) resource for the scientific community to study child and adolescent mental health. Dr. Milham serves as the director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging and Neuromodulation at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and is also the founder and director of the Nathan Kline Institute Rockland Sample initiative. The Rockland Sample initiative has worked to map brain development, maturation and aging in 1000 individuals, openly sharing all data generated with other scientists. Dr. Milham delivered closing remarks to this program.

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD

Opening Remarks

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, is the president and founder of the Child Mind Institute, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming how we understand the developing brain and in turn how we treat children and teens with mental illness and learning disabilities. Dr. Koplewicz also founded the NYU Child Study Center in 1997, and was director of the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research from 2006 to 2011. Dr. Koplewicz has been honored by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is repeatedly recognized in America’s Top Doctors, Best Doctors in America and New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors in New York.” Dr. Koplewicz delivered opening remarks for the program.