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Autism Speaks Announces 2014 Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellows

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 18, 2014) – Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced the sixth class of The Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellows funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Nine Fellows will be awarded more than $530,000 combined in research grants over the next two years. The fellowship program focuses on developing rising talent within the autism research community.

The Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship was established in 2008 in memory of Sir Dennis Weatherstone, the former Chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan . The program honors his family’s enduring commitment to the education of promising scientists beginning careers in autism research.  Fellows will work directly with mentors who are leading investigators in the autism field.

“We thank the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Weatherstone family for this tremendous investment in the future of autism research," says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Rob Ring. “The Autism Speaks Weatherstone program builds careers as it supports research that advances our understanding, prevention and treatment of autism.” 

This year’s class of nine fellows was selected from a particularly diverse and strong field of candidates, adds Ed Clayton, Autism Speaks senior director for strategic funding and grants administration. This class also stands out in the impressive quality of its mentors, all of whom rank at the top of their field, Dr. Clayton says.

The 2014 Class of Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellows includes:

To engender a network of collaboration, the Weatherstone Fellowship program will include group interaction among fellows and opportunities to meet with the Weatherstone family and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The sixth annual luncheon will take place in the fall in New York City to honor the 2014 class of Fellows and the memory of Sir Dennis Weatherstone. Through the Weatherstone Fellowship program each of the Fellows will develop a network of promising science practitioners by sharing their knowledge and experiences with each other and future Weatherstone Fellows to continue the progression of autism research for years to come.

Full descriptions of all nine 2014 Weatherstone Fellow abstracts can be found on the Autism Speaks Science Grant Search page at http://science.grants.autismspeaks.org/search/.

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated one in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 78 percent increase in six years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed nearly $200 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.