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ABCP Webinar: Decoding autism – insights from Chinese ASD cohorts

15 December, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm GMT


Decoding autism – insights from Chinese ASD cohorts


Professor Zilong Qiu (仇子龙研究员), Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology (Institute of Neuroscience), Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai, China


The talk will be delivered in English.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder causing impairments in social communication and stereotypical behaviors, often with developmental delay or intellectual disabilities (DD/ID). Accruing evidence indicates that ASD is highly heritable and genome-wide studies on ASD cohorts have defined numerous genetic contributors. Notably, since most of these studies have been performed with individuals of European and Hispanic ancestries, thus there is a paucity of genetic analyses of ASD in the East Asian population. Here, we performed whole-exome sequencing on 772 Chinese ASD trios, combining with a previous 369 ASD trios, to identify de novo variants in 1141 ASD trios. We found that ASD without DD/ID carried less disruptive de novo variants than ASD with DD/ID. Surprisingly, we found that expression of genes with de novo variants in ASD without DD/ID were enriched in a subtype of human neural progenitor cells. Importantly, some ASD risk genes identified in this study are not present in the current ASD gene database, suggesting that there may be unique genetic contributors to ASD with the East Asian ancestry. We validated one such novel ASD candidate gene – SLC35G1 by showing that mice harboring heterozygous deletion of Slc35g1 exhibited defects in social interaction behaviors. Together, this work nominates novel ASD candidate genes and suggests that genome-wide genetic studies in ASD cohorts of different ancestries are essential to reveal the comprehensive genetic architecture of ASD.

Bio of Speaker

Zilong QiuProfessor Zilong Qiu got his bachelor degree in 1998 from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, and received his PhD degree from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2003. From 2003 to 2009, he did his postdoctoral fellow in Dr Anirvan Ghosh’s lab at the University of California, San Diego, US. He joined the Institute of Neuroscience in July 2009 as Principal Investigator and the Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Basis of Neural Plasticity. His major research interests are molecular basis of neural plasticity.




Selected Publications:

  • Yang, K., Shi, Y., Du, X., Wang, J., Zhang, Y., Shan, S., Yuan, Y., Wang, R., Zhou, C., Liu, Y., Cai, Z., Wang, Y., Fan, L., Xu, H., Yu, J., Cheng, J., Li, F., Qiu, Z. (2021) SENP1 in the retrosplenial agranular cortex regulates core autistic-like symptoms in mice. Cell Reports 37,109939
  • Wu, S., Li, X., Qin, D., Zhang, L., Cheng, T., Chen, Z., Nie, B., Ren, X., Wu, J., Wang, W., Hu, Y., Gu, Y., Lv, L., Yin, Y., Hu,X., Qiu, Z. (2020) Induction of core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders by in vivo CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing in the brain of adolescent rhesus monkeys. Science Bulletin. 66:937-946
  • Li, S., Yuan, B., Cao, J., Chen, J., Chen, J., Qiu, J., Zhao, X., Wang, X., Qiu, Z., Cheng, T. (2020) Docking sites inside Cas9 for adenine base editing diversification and RNA off-target eliminationNature Communications11(1):5827
  • Cheng, T., Li, S., Yuan, B., Wang, X., Zhou, W., Qiu, Z. (2019) Expanding C–T base editing toolkit with diversified cytidine deaminases. Nature Communications10: 3612
  • Cai, Y., Cheng, T.L., Yao, Y., Li, X., Ma, Y., Bao, J., Li, L., Zhao, H., Zhang, M., Qiu, Z, Xue, T. (2019) In vivo genome editing rescues photoreceptor degeneration via a Cas9/RecA-mediated homology-directed repair pathway. Science Advances 5(4):eaav3335
  • Li, X., Yu, B., Sun, Q., Zhang, Y., Ren, M., Zhang, X., Li, A., Yuan, J., Madisen, L., Luo, Q., Zeng, H., Gong, H., Qiu, Z. (2018) Generation of a whole-brain atlas for the cholinergic system and mesoscopic projectome analysis of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 115(2):415-420
  • Dang, T., Duan, W., Yu, B., Tong, D.L., Cheng, C., Zhang, Y.F., Wu, W., Ye, K., Zhang, W.X., Wu, M., Wu, B., An, Y., Qiu, Z., Wu, B.L. (2018) Autism-associated Dyrk1a truncation mutants impair neuronal dendritic and spine growth and interfere with postnatal cortical development. Molecular Psychiatry23(3):747-758
  • Qiu, Z. (2018) Deciphering MECP2 – associated disorders: disrupted circuits and the hope for repair. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 48:30-36 (Invited review)
  • Wen, Z., Cheng, T.L., Li, G.Z., Sun, S.B., Yu, S.Y., Zhang, Y., Du, Y.S., Qiu, Z. (2017) Identification of Autism-Related MECP2 Mutations by Whole-Exome Sequencing and Functional Validation. Molecular Autism 8:43
  • Yang, K., Yu, B., Cheng, C., Cheng, T.L., Yuan, B., Li, K., Xiao, J.H., Qiu, Z., Zhou, Y.X. (2017) Mir505-3p regulates axonal development via inhibiting autophagy pathway by targeting Atg12. Autophagy 13:1679-1696
  • Liu, Z., Li, X., Zhang, J., Cai, Y., Cheng, T., Cheng, C., Wang, Y., Zhang, C., Nie, Yan., Chen, Z., Bian, W., Zhang, L., Xiao, J., Lu, B., Zhang, Y., Zhang., X., Sang, X., Wu, J., Xu, X., Xiong, Z., Zhang, F., Yu, X., Gong, N., Zhou, W., Sun, Q., Qiu, Z. (2016) Autism-like behaviors and germline transmission in transgenic monkeys overexpressing MeCP2. Nature. 530:98-102
  • Cheng, T., Wang, Z., Liao, Q., Zhu, Y., Zhou, W., Xu, W., Qiu, Z. (2014) MeCP2 suppresses nuclear microRNA processing and dendritic growth by regulating the DGCR8/Drosha complex. Developmental Cell 28:547-560

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15 December, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm GMT
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ABCP (Association of British Chinese Professors, 全英华人教授协会)
Chinese Life Scientists Society in UK (CLSS-UK, 全英华人生命科学学会)