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Psychiatry investigators awarded NIH grant to study autism

Stanford Neurosciences Institute, Psychiatry

Three School of Medicine psychiatry investigators have been awarded $2.5 million over the next five years to study autism.

Joachim Hallmayer, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; Ruth O’Hara, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; and Sundari Chetty, PhD, instructor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, will collaborate with autism expert David Amaral, MD, and his team at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

One of only five such centers in the nation, the MIND Institute aims to create a center for the study and treatment of different subtypes of autism including, for example, one with anxiety disorder and another with enlarged brains.

The investigators at Stanford will lead one of three of the center’s projects, producing induced pluripotent stem cells from children with autism spectrum disorder. The goal is to study patients with autism who also have megalencephaly. Analysis of these cells may provide additional insights into potential treatment targets.