Supporting research to prevent, treat, and cure autism is a core mission of Autism Speaks. Using funds raised for this purpose, the Autism Speaks science program is responsible for stimulating autism research through a variety of means. Perhaps the most well-known is through funding scientist-initiated grants. For these, scientists with innovative ideas apply to Autism Speaks in response to requests for research proposals. These can either be open calls for research ideas on the etiology, biology, diagnosis, or treatment of autism, or they can be calls for proposals on specific research topics that Autism Speaks views as understudied or of particular importance. A second way Autism Speaks pursues its mission is through creation of initiatives. Initiatives give Autism Speaks a much more proactive role in promoting research. Such initiatives may involve supporting research meetings on special topics, organizing research collaborations to facilitate progress, or building research resources that benefit the entire scientific community. In all cases Autism Speaks aims to support only the most exceptional research.
To assist us in our mission, Autism Speaks has the good fortune of being able to call upon some of the top scientists and clinicians in the world who have agreed to review research proposals. These volunteers form the Autism Speaks' Scientific Advisory (SAB) and Treatment Advisory (TAB) Boards. The review process is thorough and requires vetting research ideas not only for their scientific rigor and feasibility, but also for innovation and direct relevance to our mission. The SAB is responsible for reviewing grants and initiatives that involve a wide range of basic discovery research. While these projects may involve working with pieces of DNA, developing animal models, or clinically characterizing individuals with autism, all are designed to lead us to a better understanding of autism. The TAB members review those research projects that aim to treat autism by developing, delivering and testing therapeutic interventions. These may be biomedical, behavioral/psychosocial or technological interventions, all designed to improve either core symptoms of autism or co-morbid features such as sleep disturbances or anxiety.
"We are greatly indebted to the many scientists and clinicians who help review research proposals submitted to Autism Speaks," remarked Dr. Geri Dawson, Chief Science Officer. "These world class scientists generously volunteer their time and expertise to help us ensure that our funds are used wisely."
Under the direction of Dr. Dawson, Autism Speaks now announces the appointment of new members to form the SAB and TAB. The members represent a wide-range of research specialties and will serve for 3-year terms. The scientists were specifically selected to generate a mix of researchers experienced in autism together with researchers from areas outside autism but with the potential to stimulate new ideas and approaches for autism. In addition, they represent top-notch institutions located in various geographic regions. What they have in common, however, is a strong commitment to improve the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families.
Click through below to view the new member lists and biographies: