About our research

Our research program, led by Dr. Christine Wu Nordahl, uses structural and functional MRI to map brain development across the life span in autistic individuals. The image above is one of our research participants, scanned at 5 time points from 2-16 years of age.

We know that not every therapy or treatment is helpful for everyone, so we aim to identify groups of children with common traits. These might be things like shared patterns of brain development or similar behaviors. Our team studies how the brain grows and changes over time. We combine that information with behavioral, medical, and biological assessments in order to better understand causes of autism, develop targeted supports and therapies, and predict outcomes in autism.

We are particularly committed to including autistic individuals at all levels of cognitive ability in our studies and have a strong focus on autistic individuals assigned female at birth. All of our efforts are carried out with the goal of improving the lives of autistic individuals.

Current research projects include:

  • Sex differences in brain structure and function in autistic children using structural, diffusion, and resting state fMRI across early childhood into adolescence.
  • Examining predictors of co-occurring anxiety during middle childhood and adolescence
  • Characterization of the emergence of co-occurring ADHD symptoms in autistic females
  • Understanding brain differences between autistic individuals with and without intellectual disability

Featured Story: A Poem about Autism, by Isa

This poem was written and performed by Isa, a member of our NeuroTeens support group, about her experience as an autistic individual.

The Assortment of Wunderful People

Fall 2023