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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 kadent1@geisinger.edu

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 https://sparkforautism.org

 

About Geisinger
One of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The system includes 13 hospital campuses, a nearly 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Geisinger is known for its focus on caring and innovative programs including the ProvenCare® best-practice approach to maximize quality, safety and value; ProvenHealth Navigator® advanced medical home; Springboard Health® population health program to improve the health of an entire community; ProvenExperience™ to provide refunds to patients unhappy with their care experience; and Geisinger’s MyCode® Community Health Initiative, the largest healthcare system-based precision health project in the world. With more than 215,000 volunteer participants enrolled, MyCode is conducting extensive research and returning medically actionable results to participants. A physician-led organization, with approximately 32,000 employees and more than 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger leverages an estimated $12.7 billion positive annual impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Repeatedly recognized nationally for integration, quality and service, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to patient care, medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.