Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Taylor Awarded Autism Speaks Pilot Grant

Updated on 12/21/2010 9:48:31 AM.

Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D., has been awarded a pilot grant from Autism Speaks for her study “Patterns and Environmental Predictors of Employment and Independence among Adults with ASD.” Taylor, assistant professor of Pediatrics and Special Education, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Investigator, examines the patterns and environmental predictors of employment and independence among adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), by looking at family income, broader economic conditions, the service system, and the role of involvement with community and religious programs.

Autism Speaks is the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization. This year, Autism Speaks selected 14 pilot grant recipients from 105 applicants for their focus on innovation, research strategy, and relevance of the topic to the Autism Speaks research priority areas, including discovery of risk factors for autism, especially environmental factors and gene-environment interactions; development of methods for very early detection of ASD risk; exploration of natural course of adult development in ASD, with emphasis on factors related to outcome, medical co-morbidities, and mortality; molecular pathophysiology of ASD that can inform translational research for drug discovery or development of diagnostic methods; novel treatments that can address the core symptoms and associated medical conditions throughout the lifespan; and dissemination of empirically validated screening, diagnostic and treatment approaches.

Of the pilot awards, Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., remarked, “By piloting research, Autism Speaks is able to draw new investigators into the field of autism research and allow researchers to collect preliminary data to demonstrate whether innovative areas of exploration are plausible. Through the pilot grants as well as special research grants, we are making investments in studies with promise for immediate impact as well as in studies that will move the field in new directions for the future.”

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