The Autism Research Institute (ARI) conducts, sponsors, and supports research on the underlying causes of, and treatments for, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). In order to provide parents and professionals with an independent, unbiased assessment of causal and treatment efficacy issues, ARI seeks no financial support from government agencies or drug manufacturers.

We therefore rely on the generosity of donors so that we may continue to advance autism research. Our founder Dr. Bernard Rimland would often say, ‘Research that makes a difference!’ to remind us of the need to focus on what might be beneficial here and now for people with ASDs.

More Research Studies



Maternal dysbiosis at birth as a model for increased risk of autism

Paul Ashwood, Ph.D. Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, UC Davis School of Medicine

Assess whether the alteration of maternal microbiota will result in long-term changes in microbiota composition in the offspring, altered local intestinal barrier function, increased neuroinflammation and altered behavioral outcomes.

Enhancement of tissue procurement from individuals with ASD

Thomas Blanchard, Ph.D. University of Maryland Brain and Tissue Bank

This 3-year proposal from the Maryland Brain and Tissue Bank is to identify additional medical examiners at national and state association meetings and to educate the public and medical examiners about the critical importance of tissue donations from individuals with ASD and matching controls for continued research into the etiology of autism.

Joint Hypermobility & Hypermobile Spectrum Disorders in Mothers of Children with Autism & ADHD

Emily Casanova.  University of South Carolina

In this study on joint hypermobility, as well as related features, we plan to survey mothers of children with autism who are assessed by our clinic, which diagnoses and treats many hundreds of ASD children each year. In addition, we will assess the relationship of GJH features in mothers in association with: 1) estimates of cognitive impairment in the child, 2) maternal features associated with the Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP), and 3) maternally reported immune- (e.g., chronic respiratory allergies, asthma, hives, etc.) and hormone-mediated symptoms (e.g., polycystic ovary syndrome, menstrual disorders, etc.). Mothers of children with ADHD will be used as controls in this study.

To Determine the Minicolumnar Morphometry of Autistic, 15q dup and various Shank3 Mutant Mouse Models as Compared to Those in Control Tissue

Manuel F. Casanova, M.D. Endowed Chair in Translational Neurotherapeutics University of South Carolina Greenville, South Carolina

Examine differences in minicolumnar morphometry between the brains of 7 autistic individuals, 7 patients with 15q dup, 7 controls, all matched for age and sex (already obtained from the Autism Tissue Program), and the brains of various Shank3 mutant mice and wild type (n=15 total).

Role of Environmental Factors in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Ved and Abha Chauhan.  The Research Foundation of Mental Hygiene

This project involves evaluating the effects of three environmental chemicals, i.e., bisphenol A (BPA), methylmercury (MeHg) and alcohol, alone and in combination, on development and behavior of Drosophila (fruit fly) larvae, along with behavior of flies. To understand the mechanism of developmental and behavioral alterations, they will also analyze the biochemical changes, gene expression, and protein expression.

Analysis of Common Factors in Genetic and Non-Genetic ASD Models

Andreas Grabrucker and Kieran McGourty. University of Limerickas

Using an original maternal zinc deficient mouse model to generate ASD behaviors in prenatal zinc deficient offspring,  the investigators plan to use proteomic analysis of 4 brain regions to identify common biochemical pathways that are dysregulated in both genetic and non-genetic causes of ASD.  Brain samples and behavioral analyses have previously been collected and this proposal will provide proteomic evaluation of these tissues and in addition provide an extended in silico comparison with other “omics” based ASD studies.

Metabolomics Analysis of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Their Mothers Compared to Neurotypical Controls

Haiwei Gu and James Adams. Arizona State University

The overall goal of this proposal is to simultaneously analyze and compare urine samples from children with ASD and their mothers compared to NT controls using metabolomics technology. The investigators hypothesize that ASD induces a correlated reprogramming in children and their mothers which could be targeted for diagnosis and treatment before birth and in childhood.

Elevation of methionine sulfoxide in children with autism

Jill James, Ph.D. and Stepan Melnyk, Ph.D.