Speaker Bios

Prof. Lilia Iakoucheva, Ph.D.

Dr. Lilia Iakoucheva is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego. She obtained her B.S. in genetics from Kiev State University in Ukraine, and her Ph.D. from the Institute of Immunology in Russia. After completing postdoctoral training in protein biochemistry at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), she joined Washington State University to study Intrinsically Disordered Proteins. During that time, she made a series of fundamental discoveries about disordered proteins, including their role in cell signaling and cancer. Several of her papers on disordered proteins are highly cited, and accumulated over a 1500 citations each. Lilia then joined the Rockefeller University studying protein interaction networks and pathways underlying human diseases. She joined Psychiatry Department of UCSD in 2010, and her current research focuses on understanding of the molecular basis of neurodevelopmental diseases, with the focus on autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Iakoucheva has been the Principal Investigator on numerous research grants from NSF, NCI, NICHD, NIGRI, NIEHS and NIMH. She is a Member of the UCSD Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Graduate Program, Biomedical Sciences graduate Program, and an UCSD Institute for Genomic Medicine. She serves as an Associate Editor of PLOS Computational Biology Journal, and has received multiple awards, such as student-nominated Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, and Outstanding Dedication to Undergraduates award for mentoring high school and undergraduate students.

Mr. Derek Hong, M.S.

Derek Hong is a research associate working in Dr. Iakoucheva’s lab at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). He received his B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and M.S. in Biology at UCSD. His M.S. thesis was devoted to reviewing current approaches used in the development of autism therapeutics, and their future in clinical translation, which is the topic of his today’s presentation. Currently, he is working on utilizing a CRISPR toolkit with the aim of restoring the expression of autism-linked haploinsufficient genes. He serves as a mentor to several UCSD undergraduate students working on diverse projects that are related to developing therapeutics for autism.   

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