Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Connectopathic analysis of autism  

The atypical thought processes of people with autism suggest that the brain wiring in those with the disorder has gone awry, but this hypothesis has been difficult to test. Dr. Sanes and his colleagues aim to search for this aberrant wiring with new methods. A new resource known as the "brainbow" mouse may be able to reveal these complex connections. Using a simple genetic trick, each neuron in these mice is made to express a random assortment of fluorescent proteins to paint each cell a unique color. Beautiful and striking, the brains of these mice allow researchers to follow individual neurons through the brain with an ease not previously possible. Researchers intend to use the technique to follow the development of mice with mutations in autism-associated genes, looking for disparities between these mice and controls in the way neurons intertwine and connect and determining whether the mutations alter these patterns. They aim to determine the composition of synapses, looking for factors that might influence the activity or targeting of the neurons. Finally, they plan to measure the neurons' signaling activity at synapses, using a high-throughput method known as multi-electrode analysis. Knowing which neurons are abnormal and how they are different may hint at the developmental mechanisms altered in autism and even how to correct them. Project Status


Funder Simons Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $78,150.17
Project Number SFARI-07-35
Principal Investigator Sanes, Joshua
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Strategic Plan Objective New! Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 2SD. Launch three studies that target improved understanding of the underlying biological pathways of genetic conditions related to autism (e.g. Fragile X, Rett syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex) and how these conditions inform risk assessment and individualized intervention by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $9,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution Harvard University
State/Country Massachusetts
Web Link 1 Connectopathic analysis of autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects Connectopathic analysis of autism | $234,450.51 | 2008 | Project number unavailable