Community invited to learn more about Queen's autism research
Queen’s autism researchers want the community to learn more about what they do at their research labs and what resources are available to them.
“We want to bring members of the community together to share information about the studies we are conducting and the resources available, so they know where to go and who to talk to,” says Xudong Liu, director of the Queen’s Genomics Lab at Ongwanada and co-director of Autism Spectrum Disorders—Canadian American Research Consortium (ASD-CARC).
Queen’s leads ASD-CARC – a Canadian multi-disciplinary group of more than 70 researchers, clinicians and parent advisory members working with more than 3,000 autistic families in Canada and around the world – through its lab at the Ongwanada Resource Centre on Portsmouth Avenue. ASD-CARC researchers work in a variety of fields, including genetics, biochemistry and epidemiology, to collaboratively tackle the complex nature of autism and other related developmental disorders.
“There has been a dramatic increase in autism cases recently and we don’t see this stopping,” says Dr. Liu. “All the evidence shows that autism has genetic basis, but with this increase we are sure there are also environmental factors playing an important role. We have to put much more effort into researching the genetic and environmental factors that would affect the predisposition for autism.”
ASD-CARC will host an open house July 31 at Ongwanada. There will be activities for children, research talks and a question period, and refreshments. Speakers include Queen’s professors Dr. Liu (Psychiatry), Beth Kelley (Psychology) and Hélène Ouellette-Kuntz (Community Health and Epidemiology), and Brock University psychology professor Maurice Feldman, who will speak about early indicators of ASD.