Adriana Di Martino is the founding research director for the Autism Center at the Child Mind Institute. She has a long-standing research interest in autism spectrum disorder and how to best understand its neurobiology using brain imaging and a range of other clinical and cognitive approaches. Her research places a particular emphasis on detecting autism-related differences in brain connectivity that emerge in early childhood, with the goal of identifying objective biological markers that can one day be used to improve early intervention efforts and the selection of treatments.
In order to accelerate the pace of autism research, Di Martino established and directs the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE), which aggregates and shares functional and structural brain imaging data from laboratories around the world. The data sets made available to the scientific community by ABIDE have attracted a broad range of researchers to the study of autism, with expertise ranging from neuroscience and psychology to statistics, mathematics and engineering. New insights are emerging though the studies of ABIDE at a rate of more than a publication per month.
Di Martino is also a leader in efforts to recognize and understand overlaps in the neural bases of other neurodevelopmental conditions that commonly co-occur with autism, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Insights from this work are helping to provide a better understanding of differences in the clinical presentation of autism among individuals, as well as variations in the responses of treatment.