The Wall Lab at Stanford University

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It's Autism Awareness Month!

April 05, 2017

It’s that time of year to bring awareness to our community about autism, and what better way to do it than by attending Stanford’s events or participating in our studies! Here are some things you can do to bring awareness to your community:

2017 Dance-a-thon for Autism to benefit several autism-serving nonprofits, April 15
Join the “Bay Area Kind” team or make a donation to benefit autism-serving nonprofits in the bay area!

2017 Autism at Work Summit, April 12-14
Attend this conference at Stanford University to learn about careers for individuals with autism!

Our Studies:

Spread the word about GapMap!
We just launched our GapMap website and are looking for families affected by autism to add themselves to the map. Check it out and spread the word to help us gain a better understanding on the prevalence of autism and availability of resources!

Help us finish our Autism Glass RCT!
We are only 14 families away from completing our Autism Glass Study, so if you know any children ages 6-12 who may be interested in taking home a pair of autism glass for 6 weeks, send them over to our online screening questionnaire!


Opening for Postdoctoral Research Fellow

March 27, 2017

The Position

The Wall lab in the Division of Systems Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, has an immediate opening for a postdoctoral position. As a key member of the iHART (Hartwell Autism Informatics Research and Technology Initiative), the candidate will conduct bioinformatics and statistical analysis of whole-genome next generation sequencing data from over 5000 samples. This is an excellent opportunity for a successful candidate to perform novel research and publish results. Possible research projects include but are not limited to the development of machine learning/deep learning algorithms to study phenotype-genotype associations, applying statistical methods to identify risk genes, performing gene network analysis, and investigating the role of structural and copy number variants in the etiology of ASD and their association with the overall severity of ASD presentation.

Qualifications:

  • PhD degree in Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Genomics, Molecular Biology, or related field
  • A track-record of publication in the top journals or conferences
  • Experience with one or more programming languages including Python, R, Perl, C++, Java
  • Experience in using standard bioinformatics toolkits and programs
  • Strong background in one or more of the following areas: data analysis, big data analytics, and machine learning
  • Team oriented with excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Highly motivated, willing to learn, and capable of working independently with minimal supervision

Interested candidates should send an email to Dennis Wall at dpwall@stanford.edu.


Updates from the past few months

March 08, 2017

As always, the Wall Lab has been very busy these past few months! Here are some exciting updates:

Two new papers have been accepted for publication. First, the iHart team recently published a paper to the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing entitled “De Novo Mutations in Autism Implicate the Synaptic Elimination Network,” which points to deregulation in synaptic elimination as a potential pathogenic mechanism for ASD. In addition, look out for another recently accepted paper that will be published soon in Translational Psychiatry! This paper, entitled “Crowdsourced validation of a machine learning classification system for autism and ADHD,” validates a screening tool with >96% accuracy to distinguish ASD from ADHD. Congratulations to the authors of these papers!

We also have some upcoming conferences and presentations that our lab will be attending. The Wall Lab is giving a table presentation at the 10th Annual Autism Spectrum Disorders Update at Stanford University on March 25th, 2017, which focuses on new research and services for individuals with autism and their parents, educators, and care providers. We will be giving a demonstration of two of our projects, Autism Glass and GapMap.

From May 10-13 in San Francisco, The International Meeting for Autism Research is taking place, and the Autism Glass team is attending! This is an annual scientific meeting to exchange scientific progress in ASD research from around the globe. The Autism Glass team will have a poster presentation along with an Autism Glass demonstration.

In addition to the above conferences and papers, here are some quick updates from several of our projects:

The Autism Glass team has been very busy. In addition to being nominated as a Katerva Award finalist and their newly redone website, they have three papers in review for preliminary studies that finished up last year, and their randomized control trial is currently underway. The study is halfway through their participant recruitment goal - If you’re interested in participating, be sure to fill out our screening questionnaire!

Likewise, GapMap is almost ready to go live to start collecting data for a more accurate estimate of autism prevalence in the US! We are very excited to launch in the next coming months. Please check back on the website for our launch!

Our Bangladesh Study, aiming to identify and diagnose every child with autism in Bangladesh before the age of 4 by analyzing mobile home videos and a short caregiver-directed questionnaire via machine learning, was recently awarded two grants: one from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and the other from Stanford Predictives and Diagnostics Accelerator! We are incredibly excited to be collaborating with Drs. Gary Darmstadt of Stanford University and Nalia Khan of Dhaka Shishu Children’s Hospital on this project.

Additionally, the Microbiome Project has recently finished up sending back its participants’ sequenced results and a paper is currently underway! Check out this press article from KQED published last October to learn more about the project.

And lastly, we are starting up another small study to examine how well parents with children with ASD can distinguish ASD in comparison to people without a child with ASD. We expect this to help us validate our participants’ ASD diagnoses in an accurate yet efficient way.

Check back soon for more exciting updates!


Exciting upcoming Lab Events!

May 20, 2016

The Wall Lab has been keeping busy these last few months with many exciting conferences and events. Below are conferences where you will find members of the team, with information regarding each event.

Big Data in Biomedicine Conference at Stanford University, May 25-26. Big Data will be a large, two-day event on harnessing datasets of biomedical information to prevent and cure diseas. Specific topics will discuss predictive and preventative, personalized, patient-centered, participatory, and preeminent health care. This will be an incredible opportunity for the collaboration of big-data analysis and medicine to tackle issues of human health we face today.

Bio-X 2016 Science Day at Stanford’s Clark Center, June 10. This is an opportunity for young children and teenagers to engage and become interested in science and technology. Booths will be set up displaying demonstrations and experiments, such as how magnets work, anatomy, solar power, robotics, genetics, and microbiology. The Autism Glass team will have a booth set up this year to give demonstrations of the glasses and provide information on other research and work currently ongoing for the project.

EurekaFest 2016 at MIT, June 17-18. EurekaFest will be a two-day event celebrating youth and role models who have shown incredible creativity and problem-solving skills in their field. Day one will be an opportunity for members of the 2016 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams and the 2016 IntenTeams to present their invention prototypes; winners of the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize will have the opportunity to discuss their inventions and will be awarded prizes for their achievements. The final day of the event will include high school students involved in the invention process, where they will be asked to create a wind-powered device that can hover over 30 feet while carrying a payload.

Stay tuned for more updates and information on all the exciting things the lab is up to!


Autism Google Glasses AI technology featured in Springwise

May 20, 2016

Late last month the Wall Lab’s Autism Google Glass AI technology was featured in an article by Springwise, describing how the device is used in helping autistic children become more comfortable and aware of social cues and interactions. For the child wearing the glasses, the outward facing camera reads faces of family members and reads their expressions in real-time, while also recording how much eye contact the wearer makes with each face in his or her field of vision. Parents can also engage their child in games that prompt the wearer to find a face and recognize the expression; when the expression is correctly identified, an emoticon pops up on their screen. The glasses are connected to the Android app and record interactions and expressions that are color-coded and easy to interpret. The Android app and glasses, so far in this phase of research, is already showing positive signs of improvement in a child’s willingness to make eye contact and properly assess various social situations at home and in pubilc.