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Clustering autism with cross-species fMRI

21 December 2022
2:30 pm
San Ponziano Complex - Conference Room

Atypical functional connectivity measured with resting state fMRI (rsfMRI) has been observed across cohorts of individuals with autism. However, fundamental questions on the origin and significance of functional connectopathy in autism remain open. Why are functional connectivity alterations so heterogeneous across affected individuals? What are the implications of this heterogeneity? To address these questions, we have mapped rsfMRI connectivity in the mouse, a physiologically accessible species where autism-relevant etiologies can be modeled with excellent specificity, minimizing environmental confounds.

In my research seminar, I will summarize the key results from this current line of investigation. By leveraging 19 autism-relevant mouse models, I will highlight the presence of substantial cross-etiological convergences of functional connectivity alterations. Next, I show how our cross-species fMRI approach can help to parse the variability of clinical populations into meaningful subtypes. Finally, I will illustrate how these newly discovered subtypes are genetically and behaviorally relevant. Our research platform reconciles conflicting findings in clinical populations and significantly advances our understanding of functional connectopathy in autism.


Join at:

Marco Pagani, Autism Center, Child Mind Institute, New York (USA); Functional Neuroimaging Lab, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Rovereto (TN)