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Modifiable Autism Risk Factors Research Program

The Modifiable Autism Risk Factors research program seeks to identify and better understand the mechanisms behind exposures or behaviors that can contribute to an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Researchers use methods ranging from epidemiology to exposure biology to investigate risk factors for autism that aren’t inherited. Initiatives include large-scale collaborative projects focusing on child health as well as a range of innovative studies that examine environmental exposures such as maternal dietary factors and prenatal exposure to chemical mixtures. Program faculty collaborate regularly with an extensive network of leading autism researchers locally and worldwide to pioneer novel methods of exploring autism risk at a population level.

brother to be

Collaborative Projects

Large, multi-site collaborations aim to identify risk factors for autism spectrum disorder by following children whose older siblings have already been diagnosed with the condition.

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dietary choices

Modifiable Lifestyle Factors

Current research projects investigate a range of factors such as diet during pregnancy or exposure to antimicrobial agents in soaps that may influence risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

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From the Autism Institute Blog

male female

The Role Male Sex Hormones Play In Autism Risk

posted by: Bushraa Khatib

Males are about four times as likely as females to be diagnosed with autism, but experts still don’t know why. Researchers explored what role male sex hormones play in autism risk.

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EARLI Study Photo

Autism Clues in Placental Veins and Arteries

posted by: Bushraa Khatib

The placenta plays an all-important role in controlling the fetal environment, yet has rarely been considered in studies of neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism - until now.

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dad and son

EARLI study unravels some of the mysteries of autism risk

posted by: Bushraa Khatib

Researchers explore the potential link between a father's genes and autism risk. 

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Meet the Team

Kristen Lyall

Kristen Lyall, ScD

Associate Professor

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