Autism Science Foundation Announces Spring 2014 Pre- and Postdoctoral Grant Recipients

(April 10, 2014 — New York, NY)– The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding autism research, today announced the recipients of its annual pre and post-doctoral fellowships. 5 postdoctoral and 4 predoctoral grants will be awarded to student/mentor teams conducting research in autism interventions, etiology, treatment targets, biomarkers, language development and animal models.

The autism community has demanded more research to understand what is causing autism and to develop better treatments” said ASF president Alison Singer. “We are proud to be able to increase our research funding in response to this national health crisis and we are especially grateful to all our donors and volunteers who have come together to support autism research and make these grants possible”.

In its five years of operations, the Autism Science Foundation has funded over $1.6 million in grants.

“ASF attracts outstanding applicants across the board, representing a broad range of perspectives on autism science” said Dr. Matthew State, Chair of the ASF Scientific Advisory Board and Chairman of the Psychiatry Department at the University of California, San Francisco. “These projects show great potential to move the field forward.”

The following projects were selected for 2014 funding:

Postdoctoral Fellowships:

Dr. Boaz Barak/Dr. Guoping Feng: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Characterizing and Manipulating the Social Reward Dysfunction in a Novel Mouse Model for Autism
Goal: Provide treatment-facilitating insight into the pathophysiology of autism

Dr. Shweta Ghai/Dr. Gordon Ramsey: Emory University, Marcus Center
Identifying Biomarkers for Early Diagnosis of Prosody Disorder in ASD using Electroglottography
Goal: Improve vocal and language development in children with ASD

Dr. Katherine Kuhl-Meltzoff Stavropoulos/ Dr. James McPartland: Yale University
The Effects of Oxytocin on Social Learning in Individuals with ASD
Goal: Understand who may or may not benefit from oxytocin treatment

Dr. Julia Parish-Morris/Dr. Robert Schultz: University of Pennsylvania
Developing Automated Algorithms to Assess Linguistic Variation in Individuals with Autism
Goal: Design effective, personalized interventions for pragmatic language deficits

Dr. Aarthi Padmanabhan/Dr. Vinod Menon: Stanford University
Social Motivations and Striatal Circuit Development in Children and Adolescents with Autism
Goal: Determine windows of brain plasticity during which intervention may be especially successful

Predoctoral Fellowships:

Alexandra Bey/Dr. Yong-hui Jiang: Duke University
The Role of Shank3 in Neocortex Versus Striatum and the Pathophysiology of Autism
Goal: Determine whether and how specific brain regions control specific ASD-related behaviors

Nick Goeden/Dr. Alexandre Bonnin: University of Southern California
The Impact of Maternal Inflammation During Pregnancy on Placental Tryptophan Metabolism, and the Downstream Consequences on Fetal Brain Development
Goal: Understand the impact of prenatal inflammation and infection on fetal brain circuits and ASD development

Erin Li/Dr. Alexander Kolevzon: Seaver Autism Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai
Mapping the Neurobehavioral Phenotype in Autism and Phelan McDermid Syndrome
Goal: Characterize the clinical features of Phelan McDermid Syndrome compared to idiopathic autism; provide autism-intensive training to medical school students to build a pipeline of knowledgeable, autism-friendly physicians

Donghui Wei/Dr. Daniele Piomelli: University of California, Irvine
Endocannabinod Enhancement of Sociability in Autism-related Mouse Models
Goal: Develop and test novel therapies for ASD

The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) is a 501(c) (3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding to scientists and organizations conducting autism research. ASF also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. To learn more about the Autism Science Foundation or to make a donation visit


Contact Info:
Casey Gold
Program Associate
Autism Science Foundation