The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) has announced the recipients of its 2020 Winter Pilot Awards.
Through the program, grants totaling $3.3 million were awarded in support of novel, high-risk projects with the potential to yield transformative results in autism spectrum disorder research. The studies receiving grants will employ a range of experimental methods, including genetic analyses involving animal models, in vitro (e.g., brain organoids) systems, and neuroimaging. Recipients include Catherine Dulac, PhD (Harvard University), who will investigate the molecular and functional characterization of circuits underlying social need in mouse models of autism; Jessica Lasky-Su, DSc, and Rachel Kelly, PhD (Brigham and Women's Hospital), whose research is focused on the integrative metabolomics of autism spectrum disorders; Bill Moody, PhD (University of Washington), for a study that combines in vivo trans-skull imaging of neonatal brain activity with computational approaches to elucidate early abnormalities of brain activity in a mouse model of autism; Gene Yeo, PhD, MBA (University of California, San Diego), who will investigate inhibition of UBAP2L as a treatment of fragile X syndrome; and Xiaochang Zhang, PhD (University of Chicago), who will explore alternative splicing of autism-associated genes in neural development.
"We were pleased to receive so many high-quality applications," said SFARI director Louis Reichardt. "We look forward to learning more about their findings and impact on the autism research community."
For a complete list of the latest group of Pilot Award recipients, see the SFARI website.