John Hussman is not a scientist — he's a fund manager. The former economics professor runs the $6 billion Hussman Strategic Growth Fund, where he has a reputation for thoroughly researching potential investments and analyzing the markets, says Fortune's Scott Cendrowski. Now, Hussman is applying his research skills to understanding autism. Ever since his son was diagnosed with the disorder as a child, Hussman has focused his attention on finding its genetic causes. Having founded a genomics center at the University of Miami, he and became a self-taught researcher and spent many years collaborating with the investigators there, Cendrowski says. Now, Hussman and his collaborators have published a paper in Molecular Autism, which some researchers are calling a "breakthrough," Cendrowski adds. From the genetic patterns he observed across hundreds of cases, Hussman developed a mathematical algorithm to detect unusual clusters of genetic mutations that might be linked to autism. His algorithm also highlights the ways in which mutations interact with one another to influence the development of autism, Cendrowski says. While Hussman's work must be replicated and validated, Cendrowski says the end-goal is to apply the discovery to developing therapeutics for children afflicted by the disorder.
Apr 27, 2011