On April 26 and 29, 2021, SFARI and the Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain hosted a virtual workshop that focused on the use of rats as a model system for autism spectrum disorder. The workshop discussed advantages and limitations of using rat models, evaluated the need for cross-species studies and considered strategies to move the field forward.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, SFARI ran the fall 2020 science meeting virtually in a series of six weekly webinars, beginning on October 2, 2020. SFARI investigators presented their latest findings in autism research, ranging from autism genetics, through molecular mechanisms and neural circuits, to clinical insights.
Beginning on October 1, 2020, the recipients of the SFARI Bridge to Independence Award gathered with SFARI staff and advisors for a virtual ‘retreat’ of six weekly webinars. Each of the webinars included scientific presentations by the fellows, followed by breakout sessions to discuss the practical skills needed to become successful Principal Investigators in today’s scientific ecosystem.
On July 29, 2020, SFARI convened an online workshop to explore environmental (maternal and fetal) risk factors for autism spectrum disorder in the context of COVID-19 infection.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SFARI replaced the in-person spring 2020 science meeting that was scheduled April 5–7 with a series of seven weekly webinars held between April 17 and May 29.
On February 6–7, 2020, SFARI convened a two-day workshop to explore the possibility of gene therapies for autism spectrum disorder.
On June 22, 2019, families of people with DYRK1A syndrome gathered in Seattle to support one another and meet with researchers. A rare condition resulting from mutations to the kinase-encoding gene DYRK1A, the syndrome is associated with anomalous brain development and a range of symptoms, including microcephaly, seizures, speech delay and autism.
On August 2–3, 2019, people from around the world met in Seattle, Washington, to review recent findings about mutations to the sodium channel encoded by SCN2A. Organized by the FamilieSCN2A Foundation, the meeting hosted scientists as well as families of people affected by SCN2A mutations.