Autism is a disabling, lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder with core deficits in social interaction, language, and stereotyped behaviors. Once considered rare, autism is now known to affect 1 in 150 persons, with only 8-10% achieving independent and satisfying lives. The M.I.N.D. Institute was founded at UC Davis in 1998 through a parent-university collaboration to elucidate the causes of autism, and develop innovative approaches to its prevention, treatment, and possible cure. Its founders and faculty understand the necessity of interdisciplinary science to uncover the biology of autism, the links between biology, environment, and behavior, and the development of translational strategies for preventing, ameliorating, or resolving the disabling symptoms of autism. Conducting meaningful translational science requires a new level of interdisciplinary teamwork among clinicians, basic scientists and educators. To foster this effort, in 2004 the M.I.N.D. Institute began an NIH-supported postdoctoral training program to prepare future autism scientists. The primary goal has been to develop a new generation of scientists who can freely convese with each other at levels from basic science to clinical practice. This program has already enrolled 15 fellows who have trained together to develop competencies in areas crucial to autism research: epidemiology, genetics- genomics, immunology, neuroanatomy, neuroimaging, animal behavior, human behavior, human development, psychopharmacology, clinical aspects of autism, research design and analysis, cultural competence, and ethical conduct. While still at early stages, the trainees have demonstrated the program's strengths through their research papers, grants and awards, and attainment of university research positions. This proposal seeks to continue and expand the training program, to be taught by a diverse 30 member faculty. We propose to support 7 postdoctoral positions, offering each trainee two years of training that will foster their disciplinary and interdisciplinary research development focused on autism through a combination of individual training plan design, didactic training, primary and secondary mentorship, and participation in disciplinary and interdisciplinary research activities with mentoring faculty members.

Public Health Relevance

Collaborative research between behavioral and biological scientists is essential to understanding autism, the links between biology, environment and behavior, and the development of translational strategies for preventing, ameliorating, or resolving the disabling symptoms of autism. This training program is designed to train future autism scientists who can converse with colleagues at multiple levels of analsysis.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
5T32MH073124-10
Application #
8486490
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-C (01))
Program Officer
Sarampote, Christopher S
Project Start
2004-09-29
Project End
2014-07-31
Budget Start
2013-08-01
Budget End
2014-07-31
Support Year
10
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$250,479
Indirect Cost
$26,464
Name
University of California Davis
Department
Psychiatry
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
047120084
City
Davis
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
95618
Kerin, Tara; Volk, Heather; Li, Weiyan et al. (2018) Association Between Air Pollution Exposure, Cognitive and Adaptive Function, and ASD Severity Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 48:137-150
Vogel Ciernia, Annie; Laufer, Benjamin I; Dunaway, Keith W et al. (2018) Experience-dependent neuroplasticity of the developing hypothalamus: integrative epigenomic approaches. Epigenetics 13:318-330
Pokorny, Jennifer J; Hatt, Naomi V; Rogers, Sally J et al. (2018) What Are You Doing With That Object? Comparing the Neural Responses of Action Understanding in Adolescents With and Without Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 48:809-823
Gangi, Devon N; Schwichtenberg, A J; Iosif, Ana-Maria et al. (2018) Gaze to faces across interactive contexts in infants at heightened risk for autism. Autism 22:763-768
Stoppel, Laura J; Kazdoba, Tatiana M; Schaffler, Melanie D et al. (2018) R-Baclofen Reverses Cognitive Deficits and Improves Social Interactions in Two Lines of 16p11.2 Deletion Mice. Neuropsychopharmacology 43:513-524
Mattson, Whitney I; Messinger, Daniel S; Gangi, Devon N et al. (2018) A break in parental interaction does not affect the temporal dependency of infant social engagement, but disrupts non-social engagement. Sci Rep 8:15150
Avino, Thomas A; Barger, Nicole; Vargas, Martha V et al. (2018) Neuron numbers increase in the human amygdala from birth to adulthood, but not in autism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115:3710-3715
Vogel Ciernia, Annie; Careaga, Milo; LaSalle, Janine M et al. (2018) Microglia from offspring of dams with allergic asthma exhibit epigenomic alterations in genes dysregulated in autism. Glia 66:505-521
Roberts, Andrea L; Lyall, Kristen; Weisskopf, Marc G (2017) Maternal Exposure to Childhood Abuse is Associated with Mate Selection: Implications for Autism in Offspring. J Autism Dev Disord 47:1998-2009
Jiraanont, Poonnada; Sweha, Stefan R; AlOlaby, Reem R et al. (2017) Clinical and molecular correlates in fragile X premutation females. eNeurologicalSci 7:49-56

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