Advances in Autism Conference 2021


Our 25th annual Advances in Autism Conference will be hosted online on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Established in 1996, the conference brings together academic, parent and community groups to participate in thoughtful and informative presentations. The goals of the event are to discuss recent advances in autism – the causes, symptoms, and current and future treatments.

The focus of the 2021 Advances in Autism Conference is Quantifying Autism.

Enter 2021 Conference Portal

View and Download the Online 2021 Conference Program

The ability to pinpoint and objectively measure biological and behavioral changes is crucial to develop treatments for any condition or disorder, including autism. These measurable indicators are known as biomarkers and they are vital to advance diagnoses, understand typical and atypical biological processes, individualize optimal treatments, and gauge responses to therapeutic interventions.

An example of a well-known biomarker that has led to successful treatments is blood pressure. A baseline normal measurement has been determined as below 120/80 mmHg. The ability to measure an abnormal - or high - blood pressure level can help identify risk of stroke. Diet, exercise, and medications have all been tested and determined to help reduce blood pressure levels, in turn mitigating risk of stroke.

Find out how researchers are developing biomarkers to quantify autism through EEG, imaging, and more. Our expert speakers will help educate attendees about what is needed from all stakeholders to increase the feasibility of clinical trials and individualized therapies for individuals with autism.


10:30 – 10:40 AM
Opening Remarks
Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD

10:40 – 11:05 AM
Why are Translational Biomarkers so Challenging in ASD?
Ana Kostic, PhD

11:05 – 11:30 AM
Genetic Liability for Autism and Infant Brain Development
Jessica Girault, PhD 

11:30 – 11:40 AM BREAK

11:40 AM – 12:05 PM
Using Neuroimaging to Understand Sensory Processing
Elysa Marco, MD

12:05 – 12:30 PM
EEG Biomarkers for Clinical Trial Readiness
Shafali Jeste, MD, FAAN 

12:30 – 1:00 PM BREAK

1:00 – 1:25 PM
Sleep Uncovered: An Unexplored Window into Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Ashura Buckley, MD 

1:25 – 1:50 PM
Considerations in Measurement of Social-Communication Behavior
Somer Bishop, PhD

1:50 – 2:00 PM – BREAK

2:00 – 2:25 PM
In Search of Treatments: Importance of Patient Organization Collaboration
Sandra Bedrosian-Sermone

2:25 – 2:30 PM – BREAK 

2:30 – 3:00 PM
Speaker Panel 

3:00 - 3:10 PM
Closing Remarks
Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD


Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD
Director, Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment
Professor, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Ana Kostic, PhD
Director, Drug Discovery and Development, Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment
Associate Professor, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Jessica Girault, PhD
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Elysa Marco, MD
Clinical Executive Director, Neurodevelopmental Medicine, Cortica Healthcare - Marin
Research Affiliate, University of California San Francisco

Shafali Jeste, MD, FAAN
Associate Professor, Psychiatry, Neurology and Pediatrics, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
Director, CARING clinic
Co-Director, UCLA Tuberous Sclerosis Center
UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment

Ashura Buckley, MD
Director, Sleep & Neurodevelopment Core, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health

Somer Bishop, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco

Sandra Bedrosian-Sermone
Founder, President and Executive Director, ADNP Kids Research Foundation

Visit our past events page to learn more about previous conferences.