Stony Brook Mind/Brain Lecture Series


17th Annual Lecture


Guest Lecturer:

Michael Wigler, PhD

Professor of Genetics,
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


Considering the Genetics of Cognitive Function Through the Prism of Autism 


Monday, April 1, 2013
4:30 PM
Staller Center for the Arts, Main Stage
Stony Brook University (Main Campus)
Stony Brook, NY

View the video of the 2013 Mind/Brain Lecture with Michael Wigler, PhD (via YouTube)

A free presentation, intended for a general audience.

Directions to Stony Brook University: (for the closest public parking, use the Administration Parking Garage)

Lecture Overview:

The autism risk for a newborn is more than tenfold higher if a prior sibling has the disorder; does this suggest a genetic link? Professor Michael Wigler will discuss the evidence that new mutations in the parental germline contribute to autism spectrum disorders. He has identified several dozen likely gene targets, many of which may be linked to how our brains adapt to change. Although a very significant advance, the genetics does not yet fully explain the high incidence rate of autism. Professor Wigler will discuss why and what scientists may be missing.



Michael Wigler, PhD


Michael Wigler earned his PhD from Columbia University in 1978 and joined Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory the following year. The professor of genetics has been a trailblazer in the field of biomedical research, including human genetic disorders, population genetics and cancer genomics. His contributions to the field of mammalian genetics have led to medicinal breakthroughs in the treatment of strokes, heart disease and cancer.


In the early 1980s, he isolated the first human cancer genes. In the 1990s, Wigler’s research group developed the concept and applications of representational difference analysis (RDA), which led to identifying new cancer genes and viruses. He later enhanced this concept through the use of microarrays, a method now widely used commercially for genetic typing.


Wigler remains on the forefront of molecular cancer research, unraveling the mysteries of the genetic mutations driving the evolution of cancer cells and those that underlie genetic diseases, such as autism, and discovering new disease-causing genes.


For his contributions to biomedical research, Wigler is a recipient of numerous awards and honors and is a member of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


For videos and more information on Michael Wigler and his work, please visit




Additional Resources:


Prof. Wigler – home page:


Press Release:

The Connection Between Genetics and Autism – 2013 Mind/Brain Lecture by Michael Wigler, PhD



Event home pages:

The Swartz Foundation – Mind/Brain Lecture Series Home Page


Stony Brook University Mind/Brain Lecture Series Home Page  



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