State lab research highlighted in end-of-year top advances lists by Autism Speaks and SFARI

Monday, January 13, 2014

For the third consecutive year, work from the lab of department chair Matthew W. State, MD, PhD, has been selected as one of the Autism Speaks Top Ten Advances in Autism Research and highlighted as one of the most notable papers of the year by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). In a study published by Cell in November featuring graduate student Jeremy Willsey as lead author, the State lab, along with researchers at Yale University, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Carnegie Mellon University, found that a functionally diverse set of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) genes converged on one cell type, in one brain region, and at one specific period during human mid-fetal development. These results will help establish key parameters for future functional experiments aimed at elucidating the cellular, molecular and circuit level pathophysiology of ASD.

Autism Speaks and SFARI have previously recognized the State lab in 2011 for work on de novo copy number variation and in 2012 for research on whole exome sequencing, both featuring recent Grand Rounds speaker Stephan Sanders, MD, as first author.

Autism Speaks is the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Founded in 2005, Autism Speaks has committed nearly $200 million to research and developing innovative resources for families, and has established partnerships in more than 40 countries to foster international research, services and awareness.

Started in 2003, the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is a discrete scientific research program within the Simons Foundation's overall suite of programs. SFARI's goal is to sponsor research that promises to increase scientific understanding of autism spectrum disorders and currently supports 175 investigators. Since 2007, the initiative has provided or committed more than $260 million in external research support to more than 250 investigators in the U.S. and abroad.


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