A boy playing with a toy airplane

Celebrating Five Years of Transforming Autism Research

June 1, 2021

Since 2016, the University of Minnesota has been a part of SPARK, a landmark autism research study that examines genetic, behavioral, and medical information from hundreds of thousands of people. Led by Suma Jacob, MD, PhD, director of the Autism Research Program in the CANeurodevelopment Lab, the University has helped SPARK enroll over 250,000 families that are affected by autism, making SPARK the largest study of autism ever. SPARK Research Match connects study participants with autism researchers around the world. To date, 33,676 families have been part of nearly 100 autism research studies through Research Match. As a result of the participation of so many families, SPARK is transforming the way that autism research is done. SPARK will continue on for decades to come, learning from participants as they grow and develop.

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child with brain illustration
A study on the use of a neuroimaging technique called precision functional mapping for transcranial magnetic stimulation in children.
Aidan Mehta, 12, will receive comprehensive care for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at the new Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB).
MIDB makes it easier for families – like Feroza Mehta and her son, Aidan – to get comprehensive care for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain signage
The Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain aims to bridge gaps across treatment, research and community integration.