BioAutism raises funds to support autism research. We make small grants to researchers undertaking discrete studies and we support research oganisations such as the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) with more significant long term funding.
BioAutism has strong ties to the research community through its dedicated Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). This enables it to facilitate collaborative research between research bodies. An excellent example of this is the 'Loss of skills' research project which is being coordinated by MCRI but involves researchers from the University of Melbourne and the Royal Children's Hospital.
Loss of Skills project
Nearly two per cent of children up to the age of 11 are diagnosed with autism, with 30 per cent of those said to have lost language and social skills over time. Of those who lose skills, a smaller proportion will experience substantial regression over a period of just weeks or months. Little is known about the causes of this severe and rapid loss of skills.
About the project
The MCRI’s Loss of Skills study will collect high quality information about children with autism or social and communication impairments consistent with autism who have substantial loss of skills. By focusing on children up to age seven, researchers hope to discover possible causes as well as describe clinical subtypes of loss of skills, and to be able to link the two.
The Loss of Skills project already uses behavioural assessments, biological samples and genetic testing to make sense of this sudden skill loss, but speech pathologist and MCRI post-doctoral research fellow Veronica Rose will help introduce neuro-imaging to the project.
BioAutism has awarded Dr Rose an Integrative Fellowship, committing $100,000 over three years so that Dr Rose can gain skills in neuroimaging from another research group led by MCRI neurobiologist Dr Marc Seal.
Small Grants Program
BioAutism awards small grants of up to $5,000 to autism research projects that are assessed to have merit by the organisation's Scientific Advisory Committee.
The inaugural BioAutism small grant was awarded to Dr Wah Chin Boon for her research investigating the in utero effects of endocrine disruptors in autism using a mouse model. More specifically, Dr Boon examined whether in utero exposure to diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) at FDA approved levels would result in autistic like behaviour and brain phenotype in mouse offspring.