Facilitators: Dr. Gary Heiman and Christine Seymour
Thursday, July 22 at 3 p.m.
Researchers may not have all the answers for the causes of Tourette Syndrome and the related disorders but through numerous studies they do know that genetics is a contributing factor.
There is consistent data to demonstrate that TS is familial and that other chronic tic disorders are biologically related. There is also evidence that suggests a biological relationship between TS and the co-occurring disorders.
Individuals with TS may ask the question, “If I have TS, will my children have TS?” or “What happens if I decide to get married, how do I explain the medical implications to my intended spouse?” These are the thoughts that may run through one’s mind. In this discussion, you will learn more about the genetics of TS, and how to help your partner understand the medical implications for an inherited disorder.
Dr. Gary Heiman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University where he serves as the Vice Chair and Undergraduate Director. He received a master’s in Genetic Counseling and subsequently earned his Ph.D. in epidemiology from Columbia University, specializing in genetic epidemiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. In 2011, Dr. Heiman and others established the Tourette International Collaborative Genetics (TIC Genetics) study. Recently, the TIC Genetics group published two scientific articles in which they identified damaged, “high confidence” TD risk genes. They also estimate over 400 genes that, when mutated, could each pose a risk for TD. In 2018, TIC Genetics received another NIH grant to continue this work for an additional 5 years.
Ms. Christine Seymour is the Assistant Director of the Genetic Counseling Master’s Program at Rutgers University. She received a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from Arcadia University. After completing graduate school, she worked as a genetic counselor in the Biochemical Genetics department at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where her mission was to guide families through the complex world of having a child diagnosed with a genetic condition. In her role as the Assistant Director for the Genetic Counseling program at Rutgers, Christy teaches several classes, coordinates clinical hospital and non-hospital based rotations for the students, and mentors the soon-to-be genetic counselors.