Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Section for Biomedical Image Analysis (SBIA)

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a genetically complex neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by impaired social interaction and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors. ASD has a heterogeneous clinical presentation with a complex symptomatology that can be attributed to a diverse set of underlying neurobiological mechanisms, including aberrant connections between brain regions, atypical morphology and functional activations.We develop novel methodological frameworks for modeling multimodal brain-behavior interactions in ASD while providing a principled method for characterizing both categorical and dimensional aspects of the disorder. We specifically investigate ASD associated structural connectivity changes in the brain network using diffusion MRI and complex connectomics tools. We study such ASD induced changes at  multiple levels, including individual regions, connections between regions, communication backbone of the brain network, and certain functional circuits.Our research strategy is a unique blend of research components pertaining to development of computational tools to model brain-behavior interaction while at the same time affording an improved understanding of ASD and its comorbid conditions.