Dr. Elliott is a founding faculty member of the Bar-Ilan School of Medicine, which opened its doors in 2012. Dr. Elliott and his team conduct genome-wide scans and behavioral studies with mice. His research is important to the Dangoor Centre for Personalized Medicine for its emphasis on genetic profiling and big data computation.
There are two major goals of the Molecular Neuroscience laboratory:
1) To determine molecular mechanisms that are involved in the development and etiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
2) To understand the roles of epigenetics in molecular processes in the brain.
These goals are being pursued using multiple tools and techniques, including postmortem studies and the behavioral and molecular analysis of multiple autism mouse models.
Dr. Elliott also delivers a course he developed, entitled “Brain and Mind”, to Bar-Ilan University medical students. The course focuses on the relationship between neuro-anatomy and behavior, including disease.
Dr. Elliot has won prestigious grants from the Israel Science Foundation, the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development, and the Israel Psychobiology Foundation. He has also published in the top journal Nature Neuroscience. Dr. Evan Elliot earned his MSc and PhD at Weitzman Institute. In an exciting new project, his lab is establishing a national autism patient registry, whose goal is to improve Israeli autism research through a registry which will gather information about the epidemiology of autism in Israel and the establishment of a tissue bank for autism research.
Annual Activity Report, March 2017 - Autism biobank and personalized medicine program
Within the past year, the autism biobank and registry program has made various strides towards our long term goal of biomarker identification and patient stratification. Our team has started the process of building a registry of individuals diagnosed with autism who are willing to take part in future autism research programs, and to collect their blood, stool, and saliva samples for our autism biobank. This biobank will be open for all autism researchers. Our laboratory will perform microbiome and immune system characterization of these samples to perform stratification and to understand the biological basis of autism.
We have begun recruiting families with individuals diagnosed with autism, and currently have recruited approximately 25 families, including the collection of biological samples, which have been placed in our biobank. We are now continuing our recruitment through Ziv hospital in Safed, and are now starting long-term collaborations with autism treatment centers in autism, with the goal of recruiting at least another 100 families within the next year.
In our laboratory, in collaboration with Dr. Omry Koren, preliminary analysis of the microbiome of individuals with genetic predisposition to autism has revealed changes in bacteria that play a very important aspect in human health. Therefore, within the next several years, we will work to verify these results in the samples which we are recruiting through our registry and biobank. Considering the real possibility of using probiotics in patients, it is not unlikely that our research will lead directly to new diet regimens or probiotic treatment in a subset of individuals diagnosed with autism.