Research

Deepening our understanding of autism. Improving the lives of people across the autism spectrum.

As described in the Autism Speaks Strategic Plan for Science, our main goals are:

We pursue these goals through the following programs.

MSSNG

MSSNG provides autism researchers with free access to thousands of sequenced genomes from families affected by autism.

The goal: To speed the development of more effective and personalized interventions for autism and its associated health conditions.

MSSNG has grown into one of the world’s largest open-access genome databases.

* To date, more than 9,000 people (with autism or in families affected by autism) have contributed genetic material for sequencing.

* More than 100 autism researchers are analyzing MSSNG data at 55 institutions in 13 countries.

We are also creating a MSSNG community portal. It will help participants understand the genetic variations that affect them. They can opt to connect with others affected by similar genes. 

Learn more about MSSNG.

Participate in autism research

Use our Participate in Research search engine to find studies and surveys seeking participants in the autism community. 

Global Autism Public Health

Through GAPH, Autism Speaks helps underserved communities meet the needs of the world’s growing autism population.

The goal: To deliver practical and culturally appropriate services that improve lives.

We do this through research and partnerships with families, researchers, advocacy groups and governments in more than 70 countries.

Autism Speaks helped develop the World Health Organization’s Caregiver Skills Training program. Our staff is now helping test and refine the program in a broad range of underserved communities in the United States and abroad. 

Learn more about GAPH.

Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships

Autism Speaks’ research fellowships support groundbreaking research by early career investigators, under the guidance of the field’s leaders.

The goal: To launch the careers of highly promising autism researchers, while advancing research that improves lives.

Already, many of our fellows have made important discoveries about autism and how to better meet the needs of people on the spectrum.

Learn more about our research fellowships.

The Preclinical Autism Consortium for Therapeutics

In 2013, Autism Speaks established its Preclinical Autism Consortium for Therapeutics (PACT) to develop high-quality animal models of autism.

The goal: To speed the development of safer, more-effective medicines for people who have autism.

Currently, several pharmaceutical companies are interested in using PACT animal models to screen potential medicines for safety and benefits. 

Learn more about PACT.

Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) 

The Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) includes 12 of the finest medical centers in North America.

The goal: To improve the health of people with autism.

This includes improving diagnosis and treatment of the health conditions that often accompany autism. The ATN shares these best practices with physicians and medical facilities across North America and abroad.

The ATN receives federal funding to serve as the Autism Research Network for Physical Health (AIR-P). In this role, it conducts research and shares resources to meet the healthcare needs of the autism community. These resources include more than 20 ATN/AIR-P tool kits for families and medical professionals. Download yours.

Learn more about the Autism Speaks ATN.

Meet the Researchers

Pursuing life-enhancing breakthroughs for people with autism
Dr. Brittany Hand
Dr. Brittany Hand
I feel it is important in my line of work to study real-world issues facing the growing population of autistic adults living today
Read Dr. Brittany Hand's Story
Ryan Yuen, Ph.D.
Ryan Yuen, Ph.D.
I think understanding autism better will help us understand what is unique about being a human, which in turn may help me understand more about myself
Read Ryan Yuen, Ph.D.'s Story
Dr. David Beversdorf
Dr. David Beversdorf
We hope to bring about a new treatment approach that actually helps a core aspect of ASD, social interaction, and perhaps also impacts anxiety
Read Dr. David Beversdorf's Story
Meet Dr. Angela Chan, M.D., MPH Meet Dr. Angela Chan, M.D., MPH  Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, New York City
Meet Dr. Angela Chan, M.D., MPH
It has been a great privilege for me to come full circle and return to the place that inspired my work in public health.
Read Meet Dr. Angela Chan, M.D., MPH's Story

Autism Speaks Advocacy

Autism Speaks is committed to encouraging scientific advancements through policy. We believe that our country needs to do more to support research that will improve treatments and services to ensure each person on the spectrum is able to meet their full potential. The best catalyst for this effort would be for elected officials to join us in our call to double the federal investment in autism research.

Learn about Autism Speaks scientific advocacy efforts.

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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.