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
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in six other specialties in the 2018-2019 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology and 44th for Ear, Nose, and Throat. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.