Catalyze Translational Research

Lahvis_titledOregon Animation Test for Social Reciprocity

Garet Lahvis, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU. Dr. Lahvis’s research has focused on the development of novel assessments for mouse social ability, including the shared affect of autism in children and mice.  

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) feature deficits in social interaction, communication and repetitive interests. Drug and behavioral treatments for ASD are undergoing rapid development, yet the diagnostic tools are not suitable for efficacy assessment. The current gold standard for diagnosis, the Autism-Diagnostic Observational Schedule (ADOS) is often considered to have significant drawbacks. Furthermore, the wait time to receive a clinical autism assessment and diagnosis can be one year or more. 

As a result of OCTRI Catalyst funding, Dr. Lahvis and his team are developing the Oregon Animation Test for Social Reciprocity (OATS) to evaluate distinct autistic behavioral phenotypes. During the OATS assessment, a child’s responses are analyzed. OCTRI has provided extensive IRB preparation assistance and study coordinator services. As the project nears conclusion, in 2015, OCTRI will provide biostatistics support. In addition to introducing quantification of key behavioral phenotypes, OATS has the potential to slash wait times for autism diagnosis, develop the basis of a deeper scientific understanding of autism and to improve clinical care. The OATS test is patent pending. In October 2014, OHSU Technology Transfer & Business Development entered into an exclusive option for OATS with a medical device firm.

“It’s hard to convey the difficulties facing a mid-career basic scientist transitioning to translational research. We lack mentors, clinical experience, and understanding of the institutional requirements for human subject research. OCTRI has anticipated every single one of these obstacles, typically forewarning me of their emergence, then helped me move through them, all with an earnest willingness for me to succeed.” - Garet Lahvis