New project will gather biological data from children with autism for largest open-access repository

Stanford, CA – Autism researcher from Standford’s School of Medicine Dennis Wall will lead a new project aimed at assembling data for the largest open-access repository of bioinformatic data on autism spectrum disorder. The new program is called The Hartwell Autism Research and Technology Initiative A.K.A iHeart and will be funded by a $9million grant from the Hartwell Foundation, a charity focused on funding autism studies aimed at the improving health of people on the spectrum.

PhD Dennis Wall told the Stanford Medicine Newsletter that the goal for iHART is to make computing and analytical platforms easily accessible in order to perform complex queries “that may refine the definitions of autism”. He further added that they hope to make solutions that will “help families and their children.”

The program will make available data from about 5,000 people with autism spectrum disorder. Some of the data that it will look at will include phenotypes, genomics, imaging of brain activity, gut microbiome and blood-based biomarkers.

The Hartwell Foundation will also work with the Simons Foundation, the University of California-Los Angeles and the New York Genome Center to collect more data for a clearer picture of autism.

Source: Stanford Medicine News Center website: $9 million grant to establish open-access autism database at Stanford