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DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger’s Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI) has been awarded a one-year, $150,000 grant by the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge (SPARK) to help advance research into autism.

ADMI will be a center for recruitment and sample collection for a new genetic study that aims to enroll 50,000 individuals with autism and their families nationwide, making it the most ambitious study of the condition’s genetics to date. 

The one-year grant to ADMI is renewable for a full, three-year term. SPARK is supported by the Simons Foundation’s Autism Research Initiative.

Approximately 50 genes have been identified that almost certainly play a role in autism, and researchers estimate that at least an additional 300 are involved. But to identify all the genes at play, many more genetic samples are needed from those with autism and their immediate families.  

The national autism research project aims to make important progress possible by pooling together tens of thousands of participants for research. 

As autism is a spectrum, researchers need many people with autism to participate in all types of research. Until now, only a small number of individuals and families affected by autism have ever participated in research. SPARK wants to invite the entire autism community to dramatically expand its participation.

The medical and genetic data generated from the program will power important new research that aims to advance the understanding of autism and equally provides meaningful information and resources to participants.

As a SPARK site, Geisinger’s ADMI joins other renowned national autism centers collaborating on this important project, including, for example, Boston Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the UCLA Center for Autism. 

If you, or a family member, are affected by autism and want to participate in this vital national research, you may contact Kate Dent at 570-522-9402 or email

Geisinger’s ADMI is led by nationally known expert Christa Lese Martin, Ph.D., and includes many staff working on the cutting edge of research in developmental disorders. In addition, ADMI has a team of physicians, psychologists, genetic counselors, and speech language pathologists to help fulfill its clinical mission.

ADMI works to integrate the diagnosis of children with autism and other developmental disorders with evidence-based interventions, research and training. 
For more information on SPARK, see

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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