Letter from the Director-April 2019

Autism BrainNet Begins New Tissue Distribution – Autism BrainNet was established in 2014 with the goal of collecting postmortem brain tissue to promote research on the causes and potential treatments of autism spectrum (ASD) and other related neurodevelopmental disorders. To date, Autism BrainNet has received 153 brain donations, including 59 from individuals with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of ASD and 17 from individuals with conditions related to ASD, such as epilepsy or other neurodevelopmental disorders. Brain donations from 77 individuals with no known psychiatric or neurological conditions have also been collected for comparison purposes.

The Autism BrainNet team has been trying to collect a sufficient number of donations that makes it possible to conduct high quality postmortem autism brain research. While it is very important to collect additional donations in order to deal with the enormous heterogeneity of ASD, the Autism BrainNet team believes that they are able to distribute new tissue to approved investigators worldwide. And, by doing so, we will fuel state-of-the-art research.

INSAR – Many of the Autism BrainNet team will be attending the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) conference to be held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. There will be over 2000 poster and oral presentations at the meeting. We will be reporting some of the studies that rely on donated brain tissue through our social media channels. We are also poised to announce a major new collaboration with a well-established Canadian brain bank that will become the first Autism BrainNet affiliate in Canada. While we have received donations from Canadian families in the past, we hope that this new partnership will allow other Canadian families to make this important contribution to autism research. More details on this collaboration in our next newsletter.