Lauren Weiss, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Psychiatry
+1 415 476-7650

My laboratory focuses on understanding the genetic architecture of autism. We are working with genome-wide genetic data to identify additional susceptibility loci, the genetic mechanisms by which DNA variants influence autism risk, and the genetic and physiological pathways these risk loci implicate. We can use rich genetic datasets to ask questions about the role for copy number vs. SNP variation, rare vs. common variation, gene-sex interaction, gene-gene interaction, and gene-environment interaction.

We are also using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models to study known mutations or copy number variants predisposing to autism. We will first identify the effects of genetic risk variants and then be able to ascertain whether the effects of genetic risk can be modified at the cellular level by environmental or pharmacological agents. These models will be used to test hypotheses emerging from our genetic datasets.

Our long term goals are to use genetic tools to improve understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of autism and related traits.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Human Genetics
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Research Summary: 
The genetics of autism


Featured Publications: 

Increased female autosomal burden of rare copy number variants in human populations and in autism families.

Molecular psychiatry

Desachy G, Croen LA, Torres AR, Kharrazi M, Delorenze GN, Windham GC, Yoshida CK, Weiss LA

A genome-wide survey of transgenerational genetic effects in autism.

PloS one

Tsang KM, Croen LA, Torres AR, Kharrazi M, Delorenze GN, Windham GC, Yoshida CK, Zerbo O, Weiss LA

Autism traits in the RASopathies.

Journal of medical genetics

Adviento B, Corbin IL, Widjaja F, Desachy G, Enrique N, Rosser T, Risi S, Marco EJ, Hendren RL, Bearden CE, Rauen KA, Weiss LA

Association between microdeletion and microduplication at 16p11.2 and autism.

The New England journal of medicine

Weiss LA, Shen Y, Korn JM, Arking DE, Miller DT, Fossdal R, Saemundsen E, Stefansson H, Ferreira MA, Green T, Platt OS, Ruderfer DM, Walsh CA, Altshuler D, Chakravarti A, Tanzi RE, Stefansson K, Santangelo SL, Gusella JF, Sklar P, Wu BL, Daly MJ

Identification of EFHC2 as a quantitative trait locus for fear recognition in Turner syndrome.

Human molecular genetics

Weiss LA, Purcell S, Waggoner S, Lawrence K, Spektor D, Daly MJ, Sklar P, Skuse D

ITGB3 shows genetic and expression interaction with SLC6A4.

Human genetics

Weiss LA, Ober C, Cook EH

Variation in ITGB3 is associated with whole-blood serotonin level and autism susceptibility.

European journal of human genetics : EJHG

Weiss LA, Kosova G, Delahanty RJ, Jiang L, Cook EH, Ober C, Sutcliffe JS

The sex-specific genetic architecture of quantitative traits in humans.

Nature genetics

Weiss LA, Pan L, Abney M, Ober C

Sex-specific genetic architecture of whole blood serotonin levels.

American journal of human genetics

Weiss LA, Abney M, Cook EH, Ober C

Genome-wide association study identifies ITGB3 as a QTL for whole blood serotonin.

European journal of human genetics : EJHG

Weiss LA, Veenstra-Vanderweele J, Newman DL, Kim SJ, Dytch H, McPeek MS, Cheng S, Ober C, Cook EH, Abney M

Sodium channels SCN1A, SCN2A and SCN3A in familial autism.

Molecular psychiatry

Weiss LA, Escayg A, Kearney JA, Trudeau M, MacDonald BT, Mori M, Reichert J, Buxbaum JD, Meisler MH