Columbia University in the City of New York

Apr 9, 202410:30 am

Columbia Neuroscience Seminar - Lauren Orefice

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April 9th, 10:30 am – 11:30 am at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th floor lecture hall)

Lauren Orefice, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Department of Genetics

Harvard Medical School


Understanding somatosensory and viscerosensory alterations in autism spectrum disorder


The Orefice lab studies somatosensory and viscerosensory systems, with a focus on understanding how sensory circuits are altered in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a highly prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder, and surprisingly, the majority of autistic individuals experience sensory abnormalities and gastrointestinal problems but the neural circuit disruptions underlying these issues are not well understood. We identified that peripheral somatosensory neurons, outside the brain, are dysfunctional in multiple mouse models for ASD and contribute to the development of some of the major, core symptoms of ASD in mice. We are studying the development and function of peripheral sensory neurons that innervate the skin and gastrointestinal tract, and how this information is represented in the central nervous system. The Orefice lab also studies how peripheral sensory neuron dysfunction affects brain development and behaviors related to ASD, including for tactile over-reactivity and gastrointestinal problems. I will present ongoing work that has identified a role for colon-innervating dorsal root ganglia neurons in autism-associated gastrointestinal problems.


Relevant Publications:

Peripheral Mechanosensory Neuron Dysfunction Underlies Tactile and Behavioral Deficits in Mouse Models of ASDs

Targeting Peripheral Somatosensory Neurons to Improve Tactile-Related Phenotypes in ASD Models


Host(s): Wes Gruber (Faculty) and Lynn Yap (Postdoctoral Research Scientist)

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.


This event will be in-person only and will not offer a Zoom option.
Open only to Columbia University and Columbia University Affiliates.
Speaker Location *(Updated): Jerome L. Greene Science Center, 9th Floor Lecture Hall  
Live-stream Location *(Updated): CUIMC, Neurological Institute First Floor Auditorium


Tuesdays@10 is a signature Zuckerman Institute initiative that aims to expose researchers at all levels to high-quality science and stimulate scientific discourse. The speakers featured in this series represent various fields and techniques in neuroscience, and are either external to Columbia (Columbia Neuroscience Seminars and Special Seminars) or are Columbia faculty members (Local Circuits) invited through a combined, collaborative effort of one or more of the following: Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, the Department of Neuroscience, the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior and the Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, and with support from the Kavli Institute for Brain Science


More information and a full schedule can be found here.

Venue: the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th floor lecture hall)
3227 Broadway, NY 10027

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