Colloquium- Dr. Elizabeth Torres
New Model for the Personalized Characterization of Nervous Systems Disorders Across the Lifespan, from Molecules to Complex Social Behaviors to Policy Making
Presenter: Dr. Elizabeth Torres
We then adopted autism as an example whereby we can use this model to aim at revolutionizing treatments and policies, starting at our very own state. This effort is now recognized in the New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence, hosted at Rutgers University for the next 5 years. This comprehensive statewide initiative will help us reshape social perception and policies that affect all of us in our state, the one with the highest prevalence of autism in the US. My talk will provide an example of how Neuroscience can help society when expanding the scope of our research beyond basic science into clinical and social issues.
A couple of decades ago, I developed a theoretical framework for the study of sensory-motor integration. This model was successfully applied to provide a broad characterization of several movement-related components of nervous systems disorders, uncovering along the way several law-like relations tied to cognitive control, and paving the way to create new lines of inquiry in the field of embodied cognition. Upon joining Rutgers in 2008, my lab discovered stochastic signatures of nervous systems’ biorhythms specific to autism. This discovery led us to question statistical models traditionally employed in behavioral neuroscience. From basic to translational science, we uncovered several key problems with current assumptions in various analytical pipelines and black box like approaches to process genomic and behavioral data. We addressed these issues across different levels of inquiry, from molecules to complex social behaviors, under a new unifying statistical platform. To deploy this platform, we adapted the model of Precision Medicine for clinical use and leveraged the recent wearable sensors revolution to offer new ways to reproduce our scientific results and translate our basic science into models for personalized diagnoses and treatments.