Current Research Studies

Autism Center of Excellence Multisite Study of Adolescent & Adult Transitions


  • Phase: II

What is the goal of the study?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) disproportionately affects males (♂) over females (♀), possibly because of a Female Protective Effect (FPE). Characterizing the FPE may help us to understand and treat ASD in both sexes. Our Network has contributed to understanding sex differences in ASD at the levels of gene structure and expression, neural dynamics, brain function and connectivity. We have curated an unprecedented sex-balanced, age-, IQ- and severity-matched cohort of cognitively-able school-age ♂, and ♀ with ASD, age- and IQ-matched typically developing (TD) children and unaffected siblings (US). At Time 1 (T1), we conducted behavioral phenotyping and measured key neural systems at the levels of brain structure, connectivity, function and temporal dynamics. Genotyping, whole-genome sequencing and gene expression analyses are underway. We now seek to assess our participants again (T2) as they make the transition through adolescence and into young adulthood. We will clarify both temporal and spatial characteristics of brain systems. We will bridge DNA sequence and brain development and relate neural signatures to behavior and genetics to predict “real-world” functioning in young adulthood. Finally, we will extend our T1 systems-biology approach through collaboration with ASD self-advocates/participants to evaluate the experiential validity of our findings.

Who can participate in the study?

Please contact the study team listed below to learn more.

Study Team: