This Career Development Award application represents a 5 year training program for developing an independent academic career to conduct neurophysiological research to characterize neurocognitive impairments related to the pathophysiology of autism. The principal investigator (PI) will expand her research skills through a multidisciplinary training program on clinical and cognitive neuroscientific methods and clinical psychology, with an emphasis on advanced techniques in high-density electroencephalography (EEG). The training program consists of formal courses and workshops in these research domains as well as hands-on experience with analytic and statistical strategies used in high-density EEG investigations. The training program is designed to aid the PI to establish a research program to investigate neurophysiological correlates of cognitive disturbances in autism in the foreseeable future as well as achieving a long-term goal of developing the programmatic investigation of the pathophysiology of autism via combination of oculomotor and multiple neuroimaging methods, to discern how atypical neurophysiological development in autism leads to symptom development and heterogeneity in autism. A group of outstanding mentors and consultants will serve to provide scientific and career advice. Dr. Ron Mangun will serve as the primary mentor. Dr. Mangun is the founding director of the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and a well recognized leader in the field of electrophysiology to characterize cognitive function in both typical and atypically developing populations. Drs. Peter Mundy at the M.I.N.D. Institute at UC Davis and John Sweeney at the University of Illinois at Chicago will also serve as co-mentors to provide intellectual and professional guidance. The research portion of the program will focus on acquiring hands-on experience with high-density EEG to study inhibitory control of behaviors and error monitoring impairments in autism. Recent evidence suggests that these impairments are correlated with severity of repetitive behavior and social impairments though the neurophysiological correlates of these impairments are not yet well characterized. The research project will also examine relationships between EEG measures of inhibitory control and error monitoring, clinical symptoms of autism and gaze patterns with complex social stimuli, in order to gain a better understanding of how neurocognitive impairments contribute to symptom development and phenotypic variability in the population. The proposed training and research activities will take place at the Center for Mind and Brain and M.I.N.D. Institute, which will provide an ideal setting for training in advanced electrophysiology techniques and multidisciplinary clinical neuroscientific research.

Public Health Relevance

This Career Development Award application represents a 5 year training program for developing research skills through a multidisciplinary training program on neuroscientific methods, with an emphasis in high- density electroencephalography (EEG) methods to study brain substrates of cognitive problems in autism. The research portion of this program focuses on investigating brain basis for impairments in behavioral inhibition and self-monitoring, which are related to difficulty inhibiting inappropriate behaviors in social situations or repetitive behaviors. Establishing brain basis of cognitive problems will help us lay a foundation for future treatment studies, which can lead to improved life of affected individuals.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities Study Section (CPDD)
Program Officer
Gilotty, Lisa
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University of Texas Sw Medical Center Dallas
Schools of Medicine
United States
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