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STEM lecture to address potential autism treatments


Paul Hagerman

The potential of adult stem cells in combating autism is the topic of Sacramento State’s next STEM lecture.

Dr. Paul Hagerman will deliver the lecture, “Fragile Genes and Autism: The Fragile X Family of Disorders – What Our Children Can Teach Us” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the University Union Ballroom I. The lecture is presented by the Center for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Excellence.

Fragile X syndrome is the leading known genetic cause of autism, an inherited form of mental impairment. It may also cause neurodegenerative disorders with features of dementia and loss of movement. Mutations in the gene result in distinct neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Researchers currently are using adult stem cells in the development of models to explain the neuronal dysfunction, and for the development of targeted fragile X disorder therapies.

Hagerman is a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at UC Davis and director of the NeuroTherapeutics Research Institute (NTRI) in Sacramento, as well as a leading expert on fragile X syndrome. His focus is the molecular genetics of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. In 2001, he discovered a neurological disorder involving tremor and gait ataxia named fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University School of Medicine.

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­– Ahmed V. Ortiz