Mentored Career Development Award for Frederick Shic, Ph.D. This application will support my development as a scientist, giving me the tools necessary to advance as an independent investigator. For the last 9 years, I have been invested in understanding the early visual social-cognitive processes of infants and toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). I have developed new technologies and new approaches for analyzing eye-tracking data, drawing heavily on my experiences as a software developer and engineer. I have conducted several studies of atypical visual social cognition in ASD, charting early developmental trajectories of the disorder and offering new perspectives on the nature of information processing atypicalities in ASD. I bring a unique toolset and perspective to the field of autism research. I am currently building a lab centered on developing new, consumer- ready technologies that translate theoretical mechanisms of change and laboratory findings into clinically- meaningful tools for individuals with ASD. At the moment, the development of new technologies for helping children with ASD is progressing incredibly rapidly. Countless software applications, tools, and techniques have been proposed, and the breadth and pace of these new developments is breathtaking. My goal is to ground these new developments in an approach that leverages a rich understanding of developmental theory, brain development, and behavior. Although I have experience studying behavior, I will benefit from more directed and concerted instruction; to become an expert in developmental theory and methods for the study of brain development, I will need a specific, comprehensive program of guided education as well as hands-on learning opportunities. Combining an understanding of developmental cognitive neuroscience with technology development will result in a more theoretically complete picture of the processes of change and will accelerate methods for developing and refining new technologies. This approach will make me an extremely unique investigator in the field of autism research, allowing me to use my talents and abilities to discover more about the fundamental nature of atypical developmental processes in ASD and to develop new technologies to effect positive change in individuals affected by the disorder. To this end, I am seeking to deepen and broaden my understanding of 3 fields: (a) developmental cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging; (b) clinical/behavioral aspects of the developmental psychopathology of autism; and (c) statistical methods for combining and modeling complex data streams. In a keystone research experience, I propose to combine my expertise in eye tracking with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a neuroimaging technique applicable to individuals with ASD from infancy to adulthood and which targets the same underlying dynamic processes as the standard-of-field neuroimaging technique, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In my proposal, I will examine neural correlates of emotional biological motion processing in toddlers and children with ASD (N = 30) as compared to typically developing (TD; N = 30) and developmentally delayed (DD; N = 20) toddlers and children.

Public Health Relevance

This longitudinal study uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and eye tracking to examine atypical neural and behavioral responses in toddlers and young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) presented with point light displays of emotional biological motion. This study will deepen our understanding of the fundamental nature of deficits in ASD by highlighting deficits in basic social-emotional information processing, and may lead to the discovery of new markers for the disorder and new methodologies for parsing the vast behavioral and clinical heterogeneity of ASD.

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)
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Sarampote, Christopher S
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Seattle Children's Hospital
United States
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Wang, Quan; Campbell, Daniel J; Macari, Suzanne L et al. (2018) Operationalizing atypical gaze in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders: a cohesion-based approach. Mol Autism 9:25
Øien, Roald A; Hart, Logan; Schjølberg, Synnve et al. (2017) Parent-Endorsed Sex Differences in Toddlers with and Without ASD: Utilizing the M-CHAT. J Autism Dev Disord 47:126-134
Shic, Frederick (2016) Eye Tracking as a Behavioral Biomarker for Psychiatric Conditions: The Road Ahead. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 55:267-8
Chawarska, Katarzyna; Ye, Saier; Shic, Frederick et al. (2016) Multilevel Differences in Spontaneous Social Attention in Toddlers With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Child Dev 87:543-57
Popple, Ben; Wall, Carla; Flink, Lilli et al. (2016) Brief Report: Remotely Delivered Video Modeling for Improving Oral Hygiene in Children with ASD: A Pilot Study. J Autism Dev Disord 46:2791-6
Atyabi, Adham; Shic, Frederick; Naples, Adam (2016) Mixture of autoregressive modeling orders and its implication on single trial EEG classification. Expert Syst Appl 65:164-180
Shic, Frederick; Smith, Daniel; Horsburgh, Brian et al. (2015) Catalysts for Change: The Role of Small Business Funders in the Creation and Dissemination of Innovation. J Autism Dev Disord 45:3900-4