We are supporting Professor Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University in the USA to discover the mechanisms of autism brain dynamics with a view to proposing therapies.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) lags far behind other fields of medicine or psychiatry in deep understanding because the causality and specificity of modern basic neuroscience methods have not been used to investigate the underlying regulation of the ASD brain state. Compounding this problem, there is also a lack of quantitative patient-specific measurements of ASD function relevant to symptoms.
We have provided a six-year award to elucidate the mechanisms of autism brain dynamics by resolving relationships among brain-wide projections and cell populations involved in social behaviour. The team will develop and apply a novel scale-crossing approach, exchanging cellular and molecular resolution information with neural circuitry of socially behaving mammals. This will be done with a brainwide perspective in order to elucidate the elemental principles and mechanisms of social drive and dysfunction. Cellular resolution for interventions and readouts will be vital for a mechanistic understanding of relevant neural circuit dynamics, and for identifying cellular targets in clinical applications.
These findings will help the Deisseroth group to create novel, effective and precision therapies which will have an impact on the treatment landscape for autism spectrum disorder.