On May 21, 2019, the recipients of the SFARI Bridge to Independence Award gathered at the Simons Foundation to discuss their scientific findings and plans in autism research.
SFARI held its 15th science meeting April 7–9, 2019. Over 100 SFARI investigators, collaborators and foundation staff convened to discuss recent findings on the genetics, molecular- and system-level mechanisms and clinical aspects of autism spectrum disorder. In addition to keynote and session presentations, the meeting hosted a panel on animal behavior and demonstrations of online tools for visualizing and analyzing data sets relevant for autism research.
On April 18, 2019, SFARI brought together autism specialists and child development experts to explore the short-lived yet critical period of infancy. Understanding how cognition, motor skills and language unfold during the earliest developmental stages of life may help detect autism earlier, parse subtypes and inform mechanistic studies in animal models.
SFARI held its fourteenth science meeting September 30–October 2, 2018. SFARI investigators, collaborators and foundation staff came together to discuss recent findings in autism genetics, molecular and system-level mechanisms, as well as clinical studies. The meeting featured keynote and session presentations, in addition to demo sessions of online platforms for visualizing and analyzing data sets relevant for autism research.
On September 25, 2018, SFARI convened a workshop with the aims of discussing current research on sensory processing in autism and bringing together investigators that conduct animal- and human-based studies to foster opportunities for translational research.
On February 22, 2018, SFARI organized a workshop on the uses of digital tools for phenotyping cognition and behavior in brain disorders. Goals of the workshop included learning more about technologies that can reproducibly and accurately measure autism-relevant behaviors and discussing how the tens of thousands of participants recruited through SPARK can help to collect data on and phenotype autism behaviors at scale.
On April 17, 2018, molecular neuroscientists and geneticists gathered at the Simons Foundation for a workshop on the role of chromatin-associated proteins in autism spectrum disorder. The workshop discussed the biology and function of these proteins in brain development, while considering translational opportunities and evaluating ways that SFARI could potentially help move research in this area forward.
On May 15, 2018, SFARI convened a workshop to revisit the excitation/inhibition (E/I) hypothesis of autism, a synaptic-based account of the disorder that has been highly influential in the last fifteen years of autism research. The workshop critically evaluated the E/I hypothesis in light of the current knowledge of autism pathophysiology and called for a more precise definition of the hypothesis that can help enable translational opportunities from animal- to human-based research.