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Faculty from UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment receive multiple NIH awards
Date:9/19/2012

The National Institutes of Health, recognizing UCLA's preeminence in both research and clinical care for children with autism, has announced multiple awards to the university as part of the agency's Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) research program.

The UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) was the only NIH ACE Center in the nation to be awarded renewed funding for the next five years. The funding will support ongoing research focused on examining genes' link to behavior, developing clinical interventions for those severely affected by the disorder, and explaining why autism affects more boys than girls.

The goal of this work is to understand the full range of autism spectrum disorders, the brain condition that causes a continuum of social deficits, communication difficulties and cognitive delays.

Genes and behavior

UCLA's CART will receive $10 million for research aimed at advancing treatments, understanding the disorder's genetics and biology, and improving diagnostics. New research will link genetic mutations to distinct patterns of brain development, structure and function in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. This research effort is led by Susan Bookheimer, the Joaquin Fuster Professor of Cognitive Neurosciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

CART is unique in its breadth of expertise, which spans treatment, research, genetics, brain imaging and early-detection methods.

"We are very pleased to receive this additional funding to continue our investigation into the relationship between aberrant brain development and core deficits in autism," Bookheimer said. "With this award, we will now begin to track children, from infants to adolescents, who have multiple risks for autism and follow them over time in order to understand the trajectory of this disorder."

Autism in boys and girls

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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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