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 intervention 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 questions include:

  • What are the similarities and differences between autistic males and females?
  • What are the behavioral and brain predictors of co-occurring anxiety in autistic adolescents?
  • What does ADHD look like in autistic females?
  • How does the brain develop differently in autistic individuals with and without intellectual disability? Can early brain development predict different patterns of cognitive and language development?

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

Winter 2024