Marta Benedetti joined the Simons Foundation in 2007 and works with the SFARI team to evaluate and manage the SFARI autism grant portfolio, with particular emphasis on grants in the area of molecular and cellular biology. She has been responsible for the generation and distribution of several SFARI resources designed to facilitate a better understanding of the underpinnings of autism. She has participated in the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) since its initial phases, including launching the SSC Clinical Genetics and SSC recontacting committees and administering the Simons Collections biospecimens and data. She also established the Autism Mouse Models Repository with JAX laboratories and helped launch the brain-tissue repository Autism BrainNet (ABN). Since 2015, she has been president of Foundation Associates, the LLC that supports ABN.
Benedetti earned her degree in biological sciences at the University of Rome, La Sapienza, working on maternal behavior and subsequently on the neurophysiology of the dopaminergic system. Her research first at the University of Rome, Tor Vergata, at the Institute of Neurobiology of the National Research Council and later as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Moses Chao at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York focused on the structure, function and signal transduction mechanisms of nerve growth factor receptors. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Peter Scheiffele at Columbia University in New York, Benedetti studied the molecular mechanisms of synaptogenesis in the central nervous system.
Prior to joining the Simons Foundation, Benedetti worked for a number of other health-related foundations in various capacities, including serving as scientific manager for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and as a consultant for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Her professional experience also includes medical writing and editing, and translating textbooks and monographs in child neurology, neurobiology and psychiatry from English into Italian.