New Autism BrainNet website has launched

The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is pleased to announce that Autism BrainNet has launched its newly redesigned website. has an improved look and feel. The new navigation features will make it easier for visitors to find information about the program and its mission, the research that this resource enables and the donation process.

On the updated platform, families can learn why making a brain donation is critical to advancing autism research and how Autism BrainNet can support the decision of becoming a brain donor. Collaborators can access information on how to partner with Autism BrainNet to advance its mission and researchers will also be able to find information about available donated tissue and how to submit an application to request samples for use in their studies.

Autism BrainNet was established in 2014 with the goal of advancing research that uses postmortem brain tissue to study the causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to identify targets for potential treatments. Initially formed through a partnership between the Simons Foundation and Autism Speaks, Autism BrainNet is now a fully funded program of SFARI.

To date, Autism BrainNet has received 211 brain donations. These include 97 brains from individuals with a confirmed (66) or suspected (31) diagnosis of ASD; 14 brains from individuals with other neurodevelopmental conditions and without a diagnosis of autism; 4 brains from individuals with epilepsy without ASD diagnosis; 89 brains from individuals with no known psychiatric or neurological conditions that are used for comparison. The tissue and data previously collected through the Autism Tissue Program (ATP) — a program of Autism Speaks — have been incorporated into Autism BrainNet and managed and distributed by Autism BrainNet since 2016.

With the transition to the new website, the former website dedicated to Autism BrainNet’s outreach program,, is being decommissioned and its content has been consolidated into the new website.

The upgraded offers an expanded Science & News section featuring highlights of studies that use the precious gift of donated brain tissue to better understand the biology of autism, as well as up-to-date information about the activities of the program. To receive news about the science that Autism BrainNet promotes and other updates, please sign up to receive Autism BrainNet’s quarterly newsletter.

“We are delighted to share the new website with our investigators, families and collaborators,” says David Amaral, scientific director of Autism BrainNet and distinguished professor at the University of California, Davis. “We hope that it will be useful and informative, and that it expresses the great appreciation we have for all donations. We are humbled by their gift to science and are committed to maximizing the scientific productivity that they enable.”

“We are deeply grateful to all the families and individuals who decided to make a brain donation to Autism BrainNet over the years,” adds Marta Benedetti, managing director of Autism BrainNet and SFARI senior scientist. “Our team is dedicated to making the donation process as easy as possible and to ensuring that donated tissue is used for research of the highest rigor and quality.”

Autism BrainNet was rebranded with the goal of making the user experience with the program more pleasant, effective and informative. The team’s dedication to promoting the highest quality autism research and sensitivity to families touched by autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions remains the same.

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