McMaster University

Fragile X and Autism
Research (FXAR)

Scope of Search

Last updated: June 21, 2017

Santiago Ramón y Cajal drawing overlaid with an astrocyte in tissue culture
Santiago Ramón y Cajal drawing overlaid with an "in vitro" astrocyte image

Autism, Fragile X and Future Discovery

Despite all the advances in potential modes of therapy with drugs and stem cells, there is still no solid treatment for neurodevelopmental conditions reflected by intellectual and social disabilities. This Multi-Investigator Research Initiative (MIRI) program will be the first to comprehensively study astrocyte-secreted factors in relation to the prevention of abnormal neuronal circuitry at the molecular, cellular and behavioral levels. Molecular defects known to cause Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) likely involve signaling pathways that are regulated by the protein - FMRP. Since many proteins associated with synaptic structure and translation are regulated by FMRP, Fragile X syndrome animal models represent the best available means to discover ways for interventional therapy or cure. Molecules aimed at targets in pathways that are dysregulated in the absence of FMRP represent a way to develop effective therapy.

This Website will present aspects of our research grant entitled "Correction of Neuronal Function in Autism" funded by the Azrieli Foundation and the Brain Canada Research Fund, a public-private partnership established by the Government of Canada. The intent is to convey the directions and progress of the team through the tenure of the grant.