About the speaker:
Valerie W. Hu, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC as well as the mother of a son with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Hu was trained as a chemist, with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Hawaii. She has a long research history in cross-disciplinary studies focused on protein structure-function relationships and membrane-protein interactions. In late 2004, because of her personal interest in ASD, she redirected her research focus towards autism. Dr. Hu has since become a leader in the application of multi-disciplinary, integrative genomics approaches to ASD which involve the integration of large-scale data from gene expression, behavioral, genetic, and epigenetic analyses. Currently, she has turned her attention to environmental contributors that may increase risk for autism through alterations of the epigenome that may be responsible at least in part for the heritability of autistic traits.