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

Neural and cognitive mechanisms of autism  

Numerous genes have been linked to autism, but it is not entirely clear how mutations in individual genes translate to the social deficits seen in people with the disorder. Because the symptoms of autism typically appear during periods of heavy neural development, Mriganka Sur at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that defects in genes that control early brain development are partly to blame. Sur aims to identify and assess the role of autism-linked genes responsible for dividing the cortex into various processing areas. He also plans to examine genes involved in synaptic plasticity, a quality that allows neuronal connections to adapt during learning, memory and other processes. Information on genes that influence neural activity in various areas of the cortex may be useful in understanding the exact cause of the deficits in social cognition seen in individuals with autism. The findings may lead to better animal models of autism — and eventually to the development of diagnostic tools and interventions. Project Status


Funder Simons Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $375,000.00
Current Award Period 2005-2012
Project Number SF08
Principal Investigator Sur, Mriganka
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help? (Treatments)
Subcategory Model Systems/Therapeutic Targets
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 4SB. Standardize and validate at least 20 model systems (e.g., cellular and/or animal) that replicate features of ASD and will allow identification of specific molecular targets or neural circuits amenable to existing or new interventions by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $75,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
State/Country Massachusetts
Web Link 1 Neural and cognitive mechanisms of autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects Neural and cognitive mechanisms of autism | $1,500,000.00 | 2009 | SF08
Neural and cognitive mechanisms of autism | $1,500,000.00 | 2008 | Project number unavailable
Neural and cognitive mechanisms of autism | $0.00 | 2011 | SF08
Neural and cognitive mechanisms of autism | $0.00 | 2012 | SF08