Utah Autism Research Project
Autism Research Project at the University
of Utah conducts world-class research studies
on autism, autism spectrum disorders and child
development. Current research at the U of U campus
focuses on genetics, imaging of brain development,
and immune system functioning in autism. Additional
projects on autism prevalence and treatment are
being carried out at the Utah
Department of Health and at the
Carmen B. Pingree School for Children with Autism.
Summaries for published research can be viewed
by clicking on published
summaries. Information about volunteering
as a subject can be seen by clicking here.
McMahon, M.D is the Principal Investigator for
the overall Utah Autism Research Program. Hilary
Coon, Ph.D. and Mark Leppert, Ph.D. lead the genetics
projects. Janet Lainhart, M.D. and Erin Bigler,
Ph.D. (BYU), conduct the research on neuroimaging
and brain development. They also work collaboratively
with Dr. Greg Jones at the University of Utah
Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute and
Dr. Andy Alexander at the University of Wisconsin
to analyze brain imaging data. Robert Fujinami,
Ph.D., leads the projects related to immune function.
Also on the research staff are Judith Miller,
Ph.D., Lori Krasny, M.S., CCC-SLP, Jubel Morgan,
R.N., Megan Farley, Heidi Block, Lindsey Warner,
Barbara Young, and a large data and computing
staff to assist with data analysis.
1997, the National Institute of Child Health and
Human Development (NICHD), in collaboration with
the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication
Disorders (NIDCD), started a five-year, $45 million,
international Network on the Neurobiology and
Genetics of Autism. This is known as the Collaborative
Programs of Excellence (CPEA) Network. In
2002, the NICHD and NIDCD renewed funding for
the CPEA Network, agreeing to provide $60 million
over a period of five years. This CPEA network
was created to help facilitate larger studies
than are possible at any single university. The
CPEAs link 129 scientists from 23 universities
in the United States, Canada, Britain, and five
other countries, and more than 2,000 families
of people with autism. In fact, as a result of
the CPEAs, researchers now have data on the genetics
and outward characteristics of the largest group
of well-diagnosed persons with autism in the world.
Utah Autism Research Program is one of the CPEA
Network sites. Other universities in the network
include: University of Washington; University
of California, Davis; University of Rochester
Medical Center; University of Pittsburgh; Yale
University; University of California, Los Angeles;
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
(Affiliated Program); and Boston University.
The Utah Autism Research Project needs persons
with autism spectrum disorders to participate
in our research. Typically developing children
and young adults are also needed. Participants
must be at least 3 years of age to participate.
Depending upon the study, participants and/or
their parents may be asked to provide a blood
sample, complete questionnaires, test and/or interview.
For more information or to participate, please
contact us at (801) 585-9098.
To read more about recent developments on this project, click here.