The Emory ACE joins 8 laboratories in 3 institutions, creating a center for clinical and translational science built-from its outset--on the expectation of transformative impact on the community. Laboratories from the Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine, and Yerkes National Primate Research Center combine methodological and conceptual expertise in child development, behavioral neuroscience, speech science, molecular genetics, and treatment research;all against the backdrop of a city-wide initiative for autism research driven by the largest pediatric healthcare system in the country, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The thematic mission of the Emory ACE guides each of its 5 projects and 4 cores: to unravel the developmental complexities of risk and resilience in autism spectrum disorders, so that we may advance the most effective and successful treatments for children. Projects I and II quantify the developmental unfolding of social visual (PI) and social vocal (Pll) engagement, from birth until 24 months of age, to identify profiles for positive outcome as well as risk factors for disability. Project III advances rigorous, randomized-control trials for treatmnt of ASD into infancy and toddlerhood, testing the extent to which developmental trajectories of social engagement (Projects I and II) predict treatment response and outcome. Also starting in infancy. Projects IV and V establish-for normative social development (PV) and a genetic means to its disruption (PIV)-a nonhuman primate model for interrogating the underpinnings of social disability in genes, brain, and behavior. Together, these Projects advance our understanding of the developmental unfolding of autism, and set the stage for changing the course of ASD prior to the point when disability is even fully manifest. Four Cores provide the resources to support these goals, spanning Assessment, Informatics, Administration and Training. In its efforts to meet and exceed the aspirational goals for autism set forth by the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (lACC), the Emory ACE creates in its wake a new scientific community, focused on the translational social neuroscience of autism spectrum disorders, in the service of children and families.

Public Health Relevance

The Emory ACE directly addresses the goals of the lACC by (1) examining how ASD affects development;(2) studying neurobiological and genetic causes of social disability;(3) developing new tools for objective, performance-based screening for ASD;(4) measuring risk and resilience factors to guide treatment and intervention;(5) developing interventions that target core ASD characteristics;and (6) promoting community access to innovative services.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
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Gilotty, Lisa
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Emory University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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