Events picture

Distinguished Scientist Lecture March 28, 2014, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm WPIC Auditorium

Fulfilling the Promise of Molecular Medicine in Fragile X and Autism:
Progress and Pitfalls

Mark F. Bear, PhD
Picower Professor of Neuroscience
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Dr. Mark Bear is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Picower Professor of Neuroscience in The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dr. Bear served as Director of The Picower Institute from 2007 to 2009.  Prior to moving to MIT in 2003, Dr. Bear was on the faculty of Brown University School of Medicine for 17 years.  After receiving his B.S. degree from Duke University, he earned his Ph.D. degree in neurobiology at Brown.  He took postdoctoral training from Wolf Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, and from Leon Cooper at Brown.  

Dr. Bear’s laboratory has substantially advanced knowledge of how cerebral cortex is modified by experience.  He made fundamental discoveries on bidirectional synaptic plasticity, metaplasticity, the molecular basis of amblyopia (a cause of visual disability in children), and the pathophysiology of fragile X syndrome (the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability and autism).  He has been at the forefront of the efforts to translate knowledge of autism pathophysiology into new treatments.

Learning Objectives:  At the conclusion of this lecture, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the origin and experimental support for the “mGluR theory” of Fragile X.
  2. Describe the rationale for ongoing attempts to develop “disease modifying” therapies for Fragile X and autism.
  3. Understand the current status of clinical trials to asses therapeutic efficacy in Fragile X and autism.

Continuing Education Credit: The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours. In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits.


For more information on this lecture and other events, please contact Courtney Wallace at