News Release: Research , School of Medicine , Yerkes

Feb. 4,  2011

Exploring the Social Brain

New Center Focuses on Research Discoveries, Treatments for Autism, Schizophrenia

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ATLANTA — Researchers collaborating in a new center at Emory University are well positioned to increase scientific understanding of the social brain, leading to discoveries about how brain biology influences normal social behaviors and social disorders.

The Center for Translational Social Neuroscience (CTSN) will serve as the common ground for researchers who are translating discoveries in the laboratory into new treatment strategies for improving social function in psychiatric disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia, in which social disruption is a core symptom.

For more information on this new Center, go to

CTSN Kickoff Reception with Research Highlights

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, 4:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Cox Hall Ballroom, Emory University

Open to the public: RSVP to

These researchers will focus on drug discovery to reduce social deficits in autism and other disorders, and will create a pipeline from rodent models to nonhuman primate models to identify novel drug therapies. The researchers are also committed to training the next generation of scientists who can translate discoveries made in animals to treatments for humans.

The new center includes leading neurobehavioral researchers throughout Emory University, including:

  • Director Larry Young, PhD, chief of the Division of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatric Disorders, Yerkes National Primate Research Center and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences in Emory School of Medicine (biology of social relationships and bonding);
  • Frans de Waal, PhD, director of the Living Links Center at Yerkes (primate social behavior);
  • Ami Klin, PhD, chief of the Marcus Autism Center, director of the Center for Autism Research in the Emory Department of Pediatrics (early diagnosis), and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar; and,
  • Stephen Warren, PhD, chair of the Emory Department of Human Genetics in Emory School of Medicine (genetics in autism).

Using multidisciplinary approaches and state-of-the-art technology, center scientists will explore the neurobiology of pro-social behaviors, including cooperation, compassion, bonding and social reciprocity. Analyses will include genomics, cellular biology, systems neuroscience and behavioral biology.

“The CTSN will foster intellectual exchange and collaboration between basic and translational researchers and clinicians at Emory and across the Atlanta community,” says Young. “Research in animal models has the potential to transform clinical practice, and research in clinical populations can provide novel insights into the organization of the social brain.”

Within the center, researchers will provide a unique training opportunity for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and clinical residents through symposia, workshops, journal clubs and courses focused on integrating basic and clinical social neuroscience.

Kickoff Event

The CTSN will host an open house “kickoff” Feb. 10 to showcase the new center and highlight research on the biology of the social brain and disorders of social behavior. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend.

Originally posted on Feb. 1, 2011


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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