Director’s message: Something to be thankful for

What a year! Most people would agree that it has been a particularly difficult year with all of the turmoil in our daily lives, in our politics, and the many injustices in our society.

I’m writing this over the Thanksgiving weekend and I’m sure many are wondering whether there is anything in 2020 to be thankful for. My answer is a resounding Yes.

Focusing on Autism BrainNet, I am extremely thankful for the Simons Foundation. Their visionary leaders, Jim and Marilyn Simons, have made the idea of building a resource to enhance autism brain tissue research into a reality.

I’m thankful for the extraordinary team of colleagues at Autism BrainNet. They help families experiencing one of life’s most difficult moments to take solace in the donation of tissue that will contribute to the advancement of autism research. I am also thankful to the researchers worldwide that are doing incredible science to understand the causes of autism that will ultimately lead to more effective treatments. And I’m most thankful for the increasing numbers of families who, in their hour of grief, make the selfless decision to reach out to Autism BrainNet to initiate a donation.

I think that things are looking up and that 2021 should be at least a 4 star year! I hope that you all enjoy the remainder of the holidays. May you and your loved ones be safe and secure.

David G. Amaral, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, Autism BrainNet 

P.S. Check out our new website at