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research overview Zohreh Talebizadeh, PhD, is the Director of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Genetics Research Laboratory at Children's Mercy. Dr. Talebizadeh’s research interests focus on genetic and epigenetic factors underlying autism etiology. The integral parts of her research include: applying integrated system biology approaches (i.e., linking genomic and phenotypic data) with the focus on identification of autism spectrum subtypes and examining gene regulatory processes (e.g., X chromosome inactivation, noncoding RNAs, and alternative splicing). Her work on expression profiling of microRNAs was one of the first reports on the role of these regulatory factors in autism. Her novel multi-step subject stratification approach to address differences within and between families in autism has been highlighted by the autism research community. Most recently, she has published a paper, using a combination of experimental data and computational genomic analysis that provided the first line of evidence for the potential role of retrotransposed elements and noncoding RNAs in the etiology of autism. At the regional level, Dr. Talebizadeh plays a leadership role in the Neurodevelopmental Working Group organized by BioNexus KC as part of their Path to 2025 plan. In addition to her genetics research work, Dr. Talebizadeh leads a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) funded initiative called Autism Genetics and Outcomes that promotes partnership between genetics and outcomes researchers. She has been an active member of the following scientific societies: American Society of Human Genetics (1997-present), International Society for Autism Research (2006-present), and has served as a PCORI Ambassador (2016-present). Due to her unique dual expertise, i.e., leading both genetics and patient outcomes research studies, she was invited to serve a three-year term (2019-2022) on the Newborn Screening Translational Research Network Steering Committee, organized by the American College of Medical Genetics.

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