Genetics plays a significant role in ASD susceptibility. In my lab, we develop sophisticated biostatistics and bioinformatics approaches that we apply to large genetic datasets of people with ASD to elucidate the complex genetic architecture of this disorder.
Pregnancy and birth risk factors
The pregnancy and birth are critical periods for brain development. We study whether different pregnancy and birth characteristics are associated with risk of ASD. Identifying such associations will shed light on the timing and biological mechanisms contributing to the development of ASD.
Today, ASD diagnosis is based on the clinical evaluation of the child's behavior. We are trying to identify biological and/or physiological markers associated with ASD that could facilitate earlier diagnosis of ASD.
Savant skills, which are defined as “outstanding skills in individuals with otherwise intellectual impairment”, are remarkably common among people with ASD. We study the possible mechanisms underlying the manifestation of savant skills in people with ASD.
Ethnic disparities are a major concern in public health. We study ethnic differences in the prevalence of ASD and access to health services between the Bedouin and Jewish populations living in the Negev.