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SPARK's first year: A new paper describes goals and milestones

SFARI announces that a new article summarizing the first year's activities of SPARK was published in the journal Neuron today. The paper was authored by the SPARK Consortium, a group of 216 researchers, data analysts and software developers led by SFARI scientists Pamela Feliciano and Wendy Chung, locally by OHSU scientists Eric Fombonne and Brian O'Roak. Read More
A study led by Dr. Brian O'Roak that revealed about 8 percent of non-inherited mutations in people with autism appear in only some of the body's cells is among the top 10 most "notable papers that changed the way we think about autism" according to Spectrum News. Read More

The National Institutes of Mental Health has awarded a highly competitive research grant to Brian J. O'Roak, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine.  Read More

Medford, Ore. - Lava Lanes in Medford hosted the 2nd annual Autism Society of Oregon's Autism Bowl.  Read More

Over the past 10 years researchers have made tremendous progress in understanding the genetic risk factors for autism; however, many genetic factors still remain to be discovered and, importantly, validated. Most of the efforts to find autism risk genes to date have been focused on the 1 percent of the genome that codes for proteins. In the next decade, the field is moving to explore the rest of our ‘O'Roak iceberg’ — the 99 percent of DNA that does not code for proteins.  Read More


The UCEDD SPARK team looks forward to working more with OHSU to promote SPARK throughout communities (particularly rural communities) in the Northwest, Midwest, and Pacific Islands. The goal of SPARK is to connect participants to researchers and to offer them the opportunity to impact the direction of autism research.  Read More

“You can imagine a hundred families from across the country who all find out their children have autism for the same reason, having them be able to talk to each other and connect with each other,” OHSU said.  Read More