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About our Research Program

The UC Davis MIND Institute supports critical research designed to understand the causes and to develop effective diagnoses, treatments, preventions, and ultimately, cures for neurodevelopmental disorders. Advances in neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, pharmacology and behavioral sciences are making inroads into understanding brain function. The MIND Institute draws from these and other disciplines to conduct collaborative multidisciplinary research on specific neurodevelopmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome.

The MIND Institute is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the outstanding expertise at UC Davis. The University offers robust programs in biological, environmental, medical and toxicological sciences.

The scope and impact of the Institute’s Research Program is exceptional. Studies ranging from basic biological studies to treatment trials, have lead to important contributions in such areas as synapse formation and plasticity, biomarkers research, evaluating startle responses, mouse model for autism, gene therapy of the brain, functions of the fragile X and MeCP2 genes, brain structure and the epidemiology of autism.

Highlighted Study of the Month

Markers of Autism Risk in Babies-Learning Early Signs (MARBLES)

The purpose is to learn everything about mothers’ and babies’ lives in an effort to see whether there are any risk factors occurring during pregnancy that may be associated with the later diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Who can participate: Mothers who are at least 18 years of age, have given birth to a child with ASD, and are either pregnant or likely to become pregnant *The child must be brought up speaking English and live within 2 hours of the MIND Institute

Number of visits: Multiple over 3 years

What to expect: This study includes (for the Mother) - medical history, responses to a series of surveys and questionnaires, and collection of samples during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. For the Babies - periodic behavioral testing and collection of saliva, blood, urine, fecal matter and hair.

Study Coordinator: McKenzie Oliver 916-703-0228