Anderson Laboratory Translational Autism Research Program
This grant was used to support the autism research performed by the Anderson Laboratory, which is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of autism and developing therapies aimed at treating it. Recent studies have uncovered copy number variations (CNV) in a subset of individuals with idiopathic, non-syndromic autism. Using mouse genetic engineering techniques and an array of biochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral measurements, Dr. Anderson’s laboratory seeks to gain a deeper understanding of this still perplexing behavioral disorder. Using these novel tools and approaches, they seek answers to the following questions: 1) Do the CNVs cause behavioral deficits characteristic of autism (impaired social interaction and communication and increased repetitive behavior)? 2) What are the specific genes within these large deleted or duplicated genomic regions that cause the autism behavioral traits? 3) What specific neuronal populations and brain regions do these genetic defects cause the autism behavioral deficits? 4) What are the specific molecular and cellular defects within neuronal circuits that underlie these autism behavioral traits? 5) Do common pathophysiologic mechanisms exist across different etiologic causes of autism? 6) What behavioral and/or medical treatments can be targeted at these molecular and circuit defects to treat the autism?
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