NIH Grant Will Fund Study On Early Identification of Autism

November 16, 2015 - Researchers at the University of Memphis have received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders for the study Early Vocal Development and Prediction of Autism. The project is a collaboration with Emory University and the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta. The five-year study will address vocal development in the first year of life of infants who have siblings with autism. The goal is to search for early signs of vocal development gone awry, a possible indicator of emerging autism or other developmental disabilities.

Dr. D. Kimbrough "Kim" Oller, professor and holder of the Plough Chair of Excellence in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, is the principal investigator at the UofM, and Dr. Eugene Buder, associate professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, is co-principal investigator. Dr. Gordon Ramsay is the principal investigator at the Marcus Autism Center.

"Gordon Ramsay is a world leader in using infant eye movement to generate early predictions of autism, and a world innovator in acoustic analysis of speech and speech-like sounds," said Dr. Andy Meyers, interim vice president for Research and executive director of the University of Memphis Research Foundation. "With Kim adding Ramsay's expertise to his own work on infant vocalization to predict autism, we think this moves him into the very top echelon of researchers working in the area of early identification of autism."

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey