January 11, 2016
Apply for Undergrad Awards
What Causes CNVs?
Welcome New Staff!
Ride FAR (For Autism Research)
Autism TED talks April 14

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Apply Now for Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships
The Autism Science Foundation today released a request for applications for undergraduate summer research fellowships.   Research must be conducted by currently enrolled undergraduates, in a university-based laboratory or in the field, under the supervision of a highly-qualified mentor for a period of no less than 8 weeks between May and September. 
"This mechanism is a great way for motivated undergrads to get paid lab experience, while helping build our autism knowledge base " said ASF President Alison Singer.  "I'm thrilled that we are able to offer this opportunity for the fourth year in a row."
Learn more about the application process here
Apply Now for IMFAR Stakeholder Travel Awards
For the sixth year in a row, ASF is  offering a limited number of grants to parents of children with autism, individuals with autism, siblings, special & gene
ral education teachers, students and other stakeholders to support attendance at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR). This year's meeting will be held in Baltimore, Maryland from May 11-14, 2016. Awards of 
u p to $1000 can be used to support reimbursement for registration fees, travel, accommo dations, meals and other directly related expenses, including childcare or special accommodations to enable individuals with autism to participate. 

IMFAR is an annual scientific meeting, convened each spring, to promote, exchange and disseminate the latest scientific findings in autism research and to stimulate research progress in understanding the nature, causes,
and treatments for autism spectrum disorders. 
Easy Way to Participate in Research
and Make a HUGE Contribution
The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is launching a landmark project to speed up the pace of autism research and has asked the Autism Science Foundation to help this winter during a pilot phase. The ultimate goal is to recruit 50,000 individuals with autism and, when possible, their biological parents. Participants will provide basic medical information about themselves and a DNA sample and asked to agree to be contacted for additional research studies. Participation in the SFARI project can be done entirely at home; registration can be completed online, and the DNA sample can be provided using a saliva collection kit mailed to the home. Upon completion of registration, the individual with autism will receive a $50 gift card. Click here for more information

Winter Accelerator Grants Awarded
Two exceptional projects that will study new treatment mechanisms and improve data collection methods in community settings have received Accelerator Grants from ASF. These $5000 awards will leverage ongoing federal funding so that the study can provide the maximum benefit to those affected with ASD.  Applications for accelerator grants are accepted twice per year. The next request for applications will be in April with awards announced over the summer.
The Effects of Oxytocin on Functional Neural Connectivity in Autism
Rachel Greene, Principal Investigator with  Garret Stuber and Gabriel Dichter, University of North Carolina 

Recent studies have suggested that intranasal oxytocin administration improves some social behaviors in individuals with an autism diagnosis.  Researchers at the University of North Carolina are examining where in the brain oxytocin acts to produce this improvement.  Of particular interest are the brain systems involved in reward.  While neuroscientists have shown that the areas of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAC) are essential for the rewarding properties of food and drugs of abuse, the role of these brain regions in the rewarding aspects of social interactions and person-to-person connections has been less-studied.  This project will build on an existing grant to study the effects of oxytocin on the levels of activity of the NAC in social reward in people with autism.   Ms. Greene will utilize the accelerator grant mechanism to build on the data already collected to understand how this brain region connects with other parts of the brain during different tasks involving social reward, and how oxytocin affects these functional connections.  This project will reveal the potential mechanisms of action of a novel ASD therapeutic agent and provide a new neural target by which to evaluate future promising ASD treatments.
Using Experience Sampling to Evaluate the Effects of Social Skills Treatment
Maya Mosner, Principal Investigator with Edwin Brodkin, Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and Gabriel Dichter, University of North Carolina

Often research studies collect information from individuals at single time points and in settings like clinics or hospitals.  These environments may not reflect functioning in real life situations.  Recently, some researchers outside the field of autism have been using something called "experience sampling".  This method allows people to report back multiple times during the day in contexts in which they live, work or function.   This project will piggyback on a trial of social skills training to collect data using experience sampling, where individuals will fill out information about feelings and emotions during social situations.  Three questions will be added and will be collected multiple times during the day using a smartphone:  where the participants are, what they are doing and who they are with.   This project will allow the researchers to improve studies that investigate interventions where context and setting are important.