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Limited Submission Announcements

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In order to develop a comprehensive catalog of the autism phenotype, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and its funding partners are soliciting applications that will establish a Center for Genomic and Phenomic Studies in Autism. The center will accelerate identification and efficient measurement of a wide range of phenotypes across multiple behavioral, cognitive and social domains to advance interdisciplinary research on autism genomics and therapeutics. Facialdysmorphologies and cognitive, communication, behavioral and social abnormalities identified in autism offer quantitative phenotypes for genomic studies and clinical trials, and provide strong endophenotypic bridges to underlying neural systems models.

The center is expected to comprehensively collect--in a high-throughput and highly reliable manner--a set of phenotypic data from over 1,500 autistic patients and their relatives from multiplex families collected nationwide for use in future studies. The data collected by the center will be utilized to iteratively refine clinical phenotypes in interdisciplinary research and to provide translational validation of underlying physiological endophenotypes. A specific interest of this program is to collect an ethnically diverse sample of autistic probands and their relatives. Specific functions and services to be performed by the Center include:

  • Recruitment of over 1500 autistic probands and their relatives from multiplex families, especially those drawn from ethnically diverse populations.
  • High-throughput diagnostics using state-of-the-art instruments.
  • High-throughput phenomics, including assessment of cognitive and intellectual functioning, language and communication skills, social functioning and adaptive functioning.
  • Generation of comprehensive catalogs of phenotypes.
  • Utilization of "dynamic phenotyping," starting with initial phenotypes drawn from the current literature, and followed by use of modern psychometric theory to extract multidimensional endophenotypes.
  • Development of phenotype selection algorithms to identify the most promising candidates for translational research.
  • Identification of specific phenotypic and endophenotypic endpoints for use in clinical trials.
  • Phenomics database design and management to permit empirical data representation, data mining, and hypothesis testing.
  • Bioinformatics approaches to automate the processes of modeling, integration, organization, mining and visualization of phenotypic data.
  • Proof-of-concept pilot projects to identify robust high-throughput autism endophenotypes.
  • Assessment of baseline environmental exposures.

Because MU is limited to one application for this program, letters of intent must be submitted to the Office of Research,, no later than 4:00 pm on Friday, December 29, 2006. Letters of intent should be limited to 3 pages and should summarize the expertise and other resources to be tapped by the proposed center.


An applicant may request a project period of up to 5 years and a direct cost budget up to $1,250,000 in the first project year.

MU Deadline: 4:00 p.m., Friday, December 29, 2006
Sponsor Deadline:

Non-required letters of intent are due by December 27, 2006. The deadline for submission of applications is January 26, 2007.

URL for more information:

This notice is being sent to deans, directors, and chairs in behavioral and life science disciplines. Please forward it to faculty members who may be interested.

All limited submission announcements can be tracked by deadline via the Calendar at or by announcement date via the Limited Submissions listing at

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