Peter Kind is Professor of Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, Co-Director of the Patrick Wild Centre and Director of the Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain.
Intellectual disabilities and autism are co-occurring developmental disorders that affect approximately 2-3% of the population. While much is known of the genes that underlie these disorders, relatively little is known about howtheir disruption alters brain development. Our goal is to determine whether disruption of intellectual disabilities (ID) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) genes converge on common cellular and circuit dysfunction and elucidate therapeutic interventions for these disorders.
How do genetic alterations influence the developing brain?
At the heart of childhood, adult learning and memory are molecules that regulate the way neurons communicate, namely neurotransmitter receptors and their downstream signalling pathways.
Recently, several forms of childhood cognitive impairment, such as Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) and SYNGAP haploinsufficiency, have been shown to result from genetic alteration of genes encoding synaptic proteins or the cellular processes that regulate synaptic development. The Kind laboratory examines the cellular dysfunction associated with these and related monogenic forms of ID/ASD.
We use a range of electrophysiological and imagining techniques to examine the functional, morphological and behavioural phenotypes associated with rodent models of single gene causes of ID/ASD. We are also examining whether these is convergence of developmental trajectories for different forms of IS/ASD and whether therapeutic strategies need to be administered during the critical periods of brain development.