The National Institute of Mental Health recently awarded a $2.3M Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) grant to Dr. Matthew D. Lerner, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University. The grant will provide funding for Dr. Lerner's project, “Optimizing Prediction of Social Deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorders,” a study which aims to help youth with autism overcome social challenges.
Autism affects 1 in 68 children and is one of the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in the United States, according to the organization Autism Speaks. Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refer to a group of complex disorders characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors.
While the biological and psychological processes that contribute to autism's social deficits are not yet fully understood, Dr. Lerner hopes to increase understanding through his recently funded study. The study will focus on how biological and psychological factors relate to social functioning in youth with and without autism. It will hopefully determine which processes cause autism's social effects so that improved treatments for ASD can be developed.
According to Dr. Lerner, “We strive to better understand how this happens, and help create a more accessible, rewarding social world for kids and teens, whether they have ASD or not. This BRAINS award shows that the NIMH is similarly committed to helping those who struggle socially in this way, and will dramatically accelerate and improve our ability to provide answers to those who need them most."
Only $169 million of NIH science research funding goes directly to autism research, so the $2.3 million that Stony Brook University received for this study is clearly greatly needed.
On October 14th, 2016 Biotechnology Calendar Inc will host the 11th annual BioResearch Product Faire™ event held at Stony Brook University. This event allows laboratory equipment suppliers and chemical supply companies to meet with researchers interested in finding the best and newest lab supplies and technologies to use in their life science labs. To learn more about participating in this event in Stony Brook, please visit the link below or call (530) 272-6675.