Illustration of hands organizing objects of various shapes and sizes.

Simply making data publicly available isn’t enough. We need to make it easy — that requires community buy-in.

I helped create a standard to make it easy to upload, analyze and compare functional MRI data. An ecosystem of tools has since grown up around it, boosting reproducibility and speeding up research.

By Russell Poldrack
17 January 2024 | 7 min read
Digital illustration of Prevotella bacteria.

Gut microbiome meta-analysis reveals consistent autism signal

But the field needs to move on from cross-sectional studies to gain insights into the causes and consequences of the association, experts say.

By Calli McMurray
22 August 2023 | 5 min read
Illustration of neurons.
Spectrum Microphone

Chromatin remodeling tied to altered splicing in autism model

Exposing neurons to valproic acid, a well-known environmental risk factor for autism, disrupts their ability to generate different proteins from the same gene.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
7 February 2023 | 5 min read
A pattern in the style of genetic sequencing forms into the shape of the African continent.

Africa’s genomic role: Q&A with Conrad Iyegbe and Niran Okewole

Psychiatric genomics promises to shed light on the genetic basis of autism, but it’s vital to include Africa in this research, Iyegbe and Okewole say.

By Charles Q. Choi
28 November 2022 | 7 min read
Illustration of two chromosomes with copy number variants.

‘Dosage sensitivity map’ predicts active ingredients in copy number variants

The catalog of rare copy number variants tied to autism and other conditions could help researchers identify which genes account for the mutations’ effects.

By Peter Hess
31 August 2022 | 4 min read
Conceptual illustration of chromosomal abnormalities

Lumping versus splitting with autism-linked variants: A conversation with Vanessa Vogel-Farley and Yssa DeWoody

Researchers have long studied subgroups of people who share genetic variants, but the newly formed ‘CNV Commission’ is also looking at people with shared traits across different neurodevelopmental conditions.

By Peter Hess
22 August 2022 | 5 min read
Brain made up of two different medicines
Spectrum Microphone

Meet the company trying precision medicine for autism

Swiss biotech Stalicla hopes to bring precision medicine to autism. Experts praise efforts to identify autism subgroups, but evidence to support the company’s claims has yet to be seen.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
27 June 2022 | 10 min read
Cerebral cortex transcript
Spectrum Microphone

Alternate RNA versions of genes may shape autism

Autism may involve different levels of RNA isoforms encoded by genes in the brain, which express many more proteins than previously thought.

By Giorgia Guglielmi
7 January 2022 | 5 min read
Markov cluster showing protein interactions in mice.
Spectrum Microphone

Protein atlas doubles number of known interactions in mice

Thousands of protein-protein interactions mapped in mice reveal how these networks shift across seven kinds of tissue.

By Niko McCarty
26 August 2021 | 4 min read
Spectrum Microphone

Ultra-rare variants point to new autism candidate genes

A large, whole-genome sequencing study of families yields insights into ultra-rare genetic variants that contribute to autism.

By Niko McCarty
26 July 2021 | 4 min read

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Illustration of a canyon landscape with an orange clock face in place of a sun.

How to teach this paper: ‘Behavioral time scale synaptic plasticity underlies CA1 place fields,’ by Bittner and Milstein et al. (2017)

Katie Bittner, Aaron Milstein and their colleagues found that cellular learning can happen over longer timescales than Hebb’s rule predicts. How long should we wait to teach students about this phenomenon?

By Ashley Juavinett
24 June 2024 | 11 min read
Portrait of Kaspar Podgorski standing in his lab wearing a helmet with a climbing rope over his shoulder.

Climbing to new heights: Q&A with Kaspar Podgorski

The optical physiologist tracks neural computations inside the lab and scales sheer rock faces outside—even after a life-changing fall.

By Elissa Welle
21 June 2024 | 8 min read
Research illustration groups genes by their effects on brain cell types.

Giant analysis reveals how autism-linked genes affect brain cell types

Genes that predispose people to autism account for a large portion of the neuronal and glial cell changes seen in those with the condition.

By Charles Q. Choi
20 June 2024 | 5 min read