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2 UNC faculty receive Autism Centers of Excellence grants for new research
Date:9/4/2012

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Two autism researchers in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have each been awarded $12.6 million grants in the latest round of funding from the National Institutes of Health's Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) research program.

UNC, which was ranked No. 2 among the top 25 institutions in the world publishing autism research in 2010 by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, is one of only two institutions that have received more than one Autism Centers of Excellence grant.

"These grants are further evidence that UNC has become one of the premier autism research institutions in the world," said Dr. Joseph Piven, recipient of a grant for a new round of research in the ongoing Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) Network.

The NIH created the Ace Program in 2007 to launch an intense and coordinated research program into the causes of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to find new treatments.

The grant to Dr. Piven, Kenan Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, will be used to fund longitudinal brain imaging of a combined sample of 600 infants who are at high risk for later developing autism by virtue of having an older sibling with autism. The Infant Brain Imaging Network, or IBIS, which is led by UNC and includes clinical study sites at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington University in St. Louis, will conduct the study.

"The identification of early brain markers in infants who later develop autism, during a period when children may benefit maximally from early detection and intervention, has the potential to significantly improve the lives of autistic individuals," Piven said.

Dr. Linmarie Sikich, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Adolescent and School-age Psychiatric Intervention REsearch Program (ASPIRE), has been awarded a $12.6 mill
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Contact: Tom Hughes
tahughes@unch.unc.edu
919-966-6047
University of North Carolina Health Care
Source:Eurekalert  

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