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Drexel School of Public Health awarded $14M NIH grant for autism research
Date:4/2/2008

The Drexel University School of Public Health was awarded an Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) grant from the National Institutes of Health for more than $14,300,000 to examine risk factors and the development of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in expectant mothers and their babies.

Drexel will use the grant to establish a network of research sites nationwide to study possible risk factors and biological indicators for ASD during the prenatal, neonatal and early postnatal periods. The researchers aim to follow 1,200 mothers of children with autism at the start of a new pregnancy and document the development of the newborn through 36 months of age.

The Drexel University School of Public Health will coordinate the overall study and will lead the Philadelphia research field site. The grant was awarded to Craig J. Newschaffer, PhD, Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel School of Public Health, who will serve as the principal investigator.

The project will build a network of parents and families participating in groundbreaking studies on the etiology of autism spectrum disorders, said Newschaffer. The Autism Center of Excellence grant will help Drexel advance our ongoing research on ASD risk factors, and reach new heights in autism care and research.

The project, entitled the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) Study, will examine possible autism environmental risk factors and biomarkers during different developmental windows, as well as the interplay of genetic susceptibility and environmental exposure. A number of environmental exposures will be investigated. The study is also expected to advance researchers understanding of the natural history and progression of ASDs.

Lead by researchers at the Drexel School of Public Health, the EARLI Network includes four, local research field sites: Drexel University School of Public Health/Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (CHO
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Contact: Niki Gianakaris
ngianakaris@drexel.edu
215-895-6741
Drexel University
Source:Eurekalert

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