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Funding News - Research Sought on Shared Neurobiology of Fragile X Syndrome and Autism

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) encourage grant applications for research on shared neurobiology of fragile X syndrome (FXS) and autism. This announcement is made together with 6 other organizations.*

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with early childhood onset. FXS is the most common inherited form of human mental retardation. Symptoms of FXS include developmental delay, sensory hyperarousal, social anxiety with mood lability, language problems, and some or all of the symptoms and associated features of autism. Autism and autistic symptoms in FXS may reflect a common etiological or pathophysiological pathway between the two conditions.

Areas of research interest include, but are not limited to: development of more sophisticated cellular or animal models for FXS and autism; clinical studies that include genotype-phenotype analyses that provide a rational foundation for the treatment or management of autism and FXS; developmental, neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, and imaging studies to identify specific abnormalities in patients with FXS and autism or in animal models of FXS and autism; identification and analysis of genes misexpressed in animal models of FXS and autism, and in human studies of patients with FXS and autism; basic research on the neurobiology of sensory hyperarousal and anxiety in order to understand the shared etiology and pathophysiology of FXS and autism; neurodevelopmental and longitudinal studies of patients with both FXS and autism in order to investigate the neuropathological progression and inherent variability of both disorders; studies to identify and characterize neural circuits engaged by candidate molecules implicated in FXS and autism to elicit epileptogenesis; and characterization, at the circuit level, of abnormalities that may contribute to sleep disorders observed in FXS and autism.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Laura Mamounas, Program Director, Neurogenetics Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2114A, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-1383; fax: 301-496-3791; e-mail: lm92t@nih.gov.

*For a full list of supporting organizations and a more detailed description of this program announcement, please visit the NIH web site at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-05-108.html.