Mount Sinai Researchers Receive Major NIH Award for Autism Genetics Research
$7million grant extends Autism Sequencing Consortium through 2022 to collect genetic data of more than 50,000 individuals
Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, University of California-San Francisco, and Carnegie Mellon University have been awarded $7million from the National Institute of Mental Health to extend the work of the Autism Sequencing Consortium (ASC), an international research consortium established by these institutions in 2010 to collect and share samples and genetic data from individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The ASC was founded by Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Research Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Genetics and Genomic Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai. Launched with the initial support of the Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation, the ASC aims to bring together investigators to share samples, data, and ideas without first publishing them in medical journals. No single lab has enough data to identify obscure genetic patterns that are scattered across thousands of genes, so this data-sharing collaboration is intended to make such research possible, thereby accelerating discovery.
In 2013, the National Institutes of Mental Health awarded $2.25 million to the ASC to expand the project to include data from more than 20,000 individuals over three years. The Consortium now includes more than 40 international groups and over 150 researchers, who have generated gene sequencing data from 29,000 individuals, making it the largest sequencing study to date in autism, and even in psychiatry. All shared data and analysis is hosted at Mount Sinai on a supercomputer called Minerva designed by Mount Sinai faculty, which enables joint analysis of large-scale data from many groups.
The new grant will extend the project through 2022 and expand the sample to include more than 50,000 individuals.
“Historically, the number of risk genes found has steadily increased with the number of patients studied, so it’s important that we continue to add patients to the data set,” says Dr. Buxbaum. “We are thrilled to receive this grant, which will enable our unique, collaborative research consortium to continue the work that is accelerating such important discovery.”
About the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai
The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai conducts progressive research studies aimed at understanding the multiple causes of ASD. The multidisciplinary team is composed of experts in the fields of genetics, molecular biology, model systems, neuroimaging, biomarkers, diagnosis, and experimental therapeutics who are dedicated to discovering the biological causes of ASD. The Center strives to develop innovative diagnostics and treatments for integration into the provision of personalized, comprehensive assessment and care for people with ASD. The Seaver Autism Center was founded through the generous support of the Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation. For more information, visit www.seaverautismcenter.org.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.
Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: It is consistently ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and top 20 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding and top 5 in the nation for numerous basic and clinical research areas. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.