Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to advance our understanding of the circuit basis for behavioral and cognitive alterations relevant to autism spectrum disorders. The goal is to determine the downstream consequences of autism-associated genetic perturbations on neural circuitry, with an emphasis on how collections of neurons operate in concert during autism-relevant behaviors. Experiments should include investigations of neural circuits in awake, behaving rodent models of autism. It is anticipated that SFARI will work closely with awarded investigative teams on all major aspects of the project, including selection of rodent models, data coordination and dissemination.
This RFA seeks proposals that take advantage of the unique combination of biospecimens and rich phenotypic information collected by the Simons Variation in Individuals Project (Simons VIP). Although SFARI is open to many different approaches, we will likely give priority to those that aim to accomplish a comprehensive characterization of RNA expression differences and correlate such expression patterns with phenotypes. Furthering the ability to include genomic analysis would be an additional strength. The data produced in this effort will be made available to the research community with minimum delay and thus will be a valuable resource for all researchers.
This RFA seeks proposals that aim to comprehensively analyze the behavior of mouse models that have been generated with targeted genetic mutations based on strong human genetic evidence implicating them in autism spectrum disorders. We expect investigators will test at least three genetic models in the same background strain (C57BL/6). In addition, investigators should analyze the behavior of one of the selected autism mouse models in a different genetic background, such as a hybrid background from two inbred strains. Proposals should include: 1) sophisticated automation in data collection, 2) long-term monitoring of spontaneous behavior, 3) an analysis of both sexes, and 4) a minimum of three developmental time-points, particularly those during critical periods of brain development.