Welcome to the rebirth of SFARI.org, the website of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. An excellent website to begin with, we feel that it has reached a new level in breadth and depth of coverage and ease of use. The staff, led by executive editor Apoorva Mandavilli, is superb and they work seamlessly with the scientists here at the foundation and with selected journalists and experts from around the world.
One of our most important goals is to provide the scientific community and the informed public with up-to the-minute news about autism research. Another is to provide commentary written by foundation staff and invited scientists that synthesizes various areas of research. In each instance, we invite your comments.
Like the brain itself, the complexity of autism can seem overwhelming. The entire spectrum is currently investigated from many different perspectives with different vocabularies. Testable hypotheses are needed and they are most likely to arise at interfaces where disciplines overlap. A third goal of SFARI.org, therefore, is to make important results accessible to all. We aim to create forums to teach and clarify concepts and to welcome all disciplines to the discussions.
In addition to an enriched discussion, SFARI.org makes several resources available to the research community:
The Simons Simplex Collection (SSC): a rigorously characterized repository of genetic and phenotypic data and biospecimens from 2,800 simplex families (which have only one child on the autism spectrum but unaffected parents and siblings), many of whom remain available for recontacting.
SFARI Base: our online tool that enables researchers to explore the SSC's data, make queries and place requests for data and biomaterials.
SFARI Gene: SFARI's web portal for ongoing collection, manual notation and visualization of genes associated with autism.
Simons VIP: an exciting new SFARI project that identifies and studies people with a deletion or duplication at chromosome 16p11.2, a major genetic hotspot for autism, to see whether and how that copy number variant manifests itself in phenotype.
All of the above are dynamic, evolving tools. We welcome your input and your suggestions for new resources.
We hope you will benefit from SFARI.org and contribute by signing up for a secure SFARI ID.
Gerald D. Fischbach
Director, Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative and Director, Life Sciences
SFARI seeks to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding, catalyzing and driving innovative research of the greatest quality and relevance.