Our Study

Brain Differences in Boys and Girls with Autism:

"Multimodal Developmental Neurogenetics of Females with ASD" - CURRENTLY ENROLLING FOR WAVE 2  

Principal Investigator: Kevin Pelphrey, PhD. IRB-HSR#21361

Our study aims to understand the differences in how autism spectrum disorders manifest in boys versus girls. This study is using brain imaging and behavioral and genetic testing to examine differences. Participants will include adolescents and adults with autism, as well as unaffected siblings, and typically developing individuals ages 7 - 35.

mri picture


Who can participate?

We are currently seeking:

• girls and boys diagnosed with ASD between the ages of 7-35 years old

• girls and boys with typical development between the ages of 7-35 years old



What does participation involve?

Participation in the study includes a phone call to determine if the study is a good match for you or your family, completion of several questionnaires, and up to three study visits with research staff that will include the following:

• Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), which provides pictures of the brain

• A blood draw for genetic testing

• Electroencephalography (EEG) , a non-invasive procedure to record brain waves

• In-person assessment of cognitive, language, and social skills.

In light of the current need for social distancing to ensure the highest level of safety for participants in this study, only parts of this study which can be conducted remotely/virtually will be done. At a future time, when safe, we hope to schedule the in-person visits with you.

What will my family receive for participating?eeg cap

Total compensation for participation in the study is up to $440. Each part of the study has a different compensation value. Some participants may be asked to complete some or all parts of the study. There are no direct benefits to the participant, however, the information may help others with Autism in the future. 

What are the risks associated with participation?

This is a low risk study. There are no known risks associated with the neuropsychological testing in the study. MRI is a non-invasive imaging methodology for studying the brain. Exposure to the magnetic fields used in MRI is not known to have any adverse health effects. EEG involves an array of electrodes placed on the scalp used to record neural signals being generated by the brain. EEG requires no special magnets, injections, medications, or other medically invasive aspects. A special gel is sometimes used to help ensure proper contact with the scalp. The gel is entirely safe and can be easily removed from their hair and scalp using regular shampoo. The drawing of blood for genetic testing also involves little risk though may result in slight bruising at the site where the blood sample was drawn. Any bruising usually disappears after a few days. This study has been approved by the Yale University Human Investigation Committee. All information collected as part of this study is kept strictly confidential and all collected medical information is kept separate from identifying information in our highly secure, encrypted, and protected database. 

How can I express interest in participation?

If you or your family are interested in participating, contact the UVA Coordinators at (434) 243-2060, or uva_ace@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu, or create an account with Autism DRIVE


Explore Other Participation Opportunities with Autism DRIVE

Autism DRIVE is a UVA initiative designed to help the autism community, researchers, and resources connect. Click here to learn more about our other exciting ongoing research studies.