The Yale Child Study Center has been awarded the Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) status by the National Institutes of Health. This highly competitive and prestigious award comes with $7.5 million of direct funding over five years to the Autism Program led by Ami Klin.
This is our largest award to date, and signifies a recognition of the national leadership in research of autism provided by our interdisciplinary group of clinical scientists, said Klin, the Harris Associate Professor of Child Psychology & Psychiatry in the Child Study Center. The Yale ACE will further strengthen our commitment to finding the causes of autism and developing more effective treatments.
Klins colleagues on the Yale ACE include Fred Volkmar, Robert Schultz, Warren Jones, Kasia Chawarska, Rhea Paul, Matthew State, Elena Grigorenko and Joseph Chang. The team plans three longitudinal projects focused on infants with autism aged 12 to 24 months. Another project involves neuroimaging studies of a cohort of children evaluated at various stages in their development, first at two years of age, then at four and eight and finally at 10-years-old. The researchers hope to trace underlying mechanisms of brain growth and specialization of individuals with autism. A fifth project focuses on a family of genes and linked proteins found to be associated with forms of autism.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a persons ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and it is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism affects about two million Americans. Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States and affects four times as many boys as girls. Researchers do not know how many subtypes of autism exist. There are probably several causes giving rise to this neurodevelopmental syndrome, but researchers have found that it is the most strongly genetic condition among all developmental disorders.'"/>