Autism Science Foundation to Develop Brain Tissue Donation Awareness Campaign with Support from Simons Foundation

2-year grant from the Simons Foundation will support multi-media campaign designed to support and encourage brain tissue donation for autism research

(October 1, 2012—New York, NY)–The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding autism research, today announced that it had received a two-year, $600,000 grant from the Simons Foundation to develop a multi-media campaign designed to increase awareness of the importance of brain tissue donation to further autism research.

“No effort is more important than raising awareness among families and scientists about the need for research on human brain tissue,” said Dr. Gerald Fischbach, Director of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. “At this point, we have learned a great deal about the genetics of autism, and have important animal models with which to test genetic hypotheses. And now the next step in developing useful therapies, and even possibly preventative measures, depends on understanding more about the human brain itself. This project is designed to help children on the autism spectrum, and although brain donation is a difficult issue for many, it is one of the best ways to help families.”

“In every area of medicine,” said Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, “new diagnostics and new treatments have come from studying the affected organ. In autism, we have been challenged by trying to understand a complex neurodevelopmental disorder without having enough brain tissue available for study. This is especially unfortunate because today we have such powerful tools to interrogate any tissue that becomes available. This new public-private effort, called for by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Strategic Plan for Research, can launch a national effort to increase brain tissue donation. In so many ways, our ability to deliver for families with autism depends on the success of this effort.”

ASF President Alison Singer will serve as principal investigator on the project. Prior to founding the Autism Science Foundation, Singer served as Executive Vice President for Communications and Awareness at Autism Speaks, where she developed and co-produced the award-winning “The Odds” autism awareness campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council.

“The need for more autism brain tissue is consistently described as a major roadblock to advancing autism research” said Singer, who also serves as a public member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. “We know that parents in our community are eager to do everything possible to move the research forward and this campaign will give them the information and tools they need to determine whether tissue donation is right for them.”

The Autism Science Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to meeting the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.

ASF recently released a request for applications for pre and post doctoral fellowships. In the past 3 years ASF has funded close to a million dollars in training grants. The application deadline is November 16, 2012.

To learn more about the Autism Science Foundation’s programs visit


Contact Info:

Dawn Crawford
Events and Media Manager
Autism Science Foundation

Autism Science Foundation to Develop Brain Tissue Donation Awareness Campaign with Support from Simons Foundation