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Jaejoongfangirl
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06 Jun 2011, 4:09 pm

I would really, really love to get involved in autism research. I feel like research is perfectly suited for me and I can't wait to get experience in more labs than I have currently. Also, as a person with autism of course I am interested in learning more about me and my personal quirks so I figure this would be perfect.

Unfortunately, most of the institutes that fund the labs that I've found so far are funded largely by programs like Autism Speaks which are of a standpoint that I and many others here personally find deroggatory. This makes the search so messy and difficult. 'Cause, I mean, you need money to do good research but why THEIR money? I mean, I would not feel bad about using extra pippettes with pretty little filters just to spite them. :p Them and their "cure". Grr.
Anyway, that's kinda just a sidenote. Sigh. Ethics.

ANYWAY, What I'm basically interested in is learning more/helping to teach everyone more about the actual neurology behind autism. Does anyone have any advice for me/know of any labs/programs/institutes that I might check out and read up on? I'm also going to apply for grad school in about a year or so, so I'd also love to hear about any grad programs that y'all might have dug up in your own searches - I somehow doubt I'm the only autie that has wanted to do this. :lol: Thanks - y'all are awesome!

Oh! Also, any text books or references that y'all would reccomend as particularly good?


EDIT: Forgot to say, the most interesting thing I've found so far (been puttering around on the internet for about an hour) is the UC Davis affiliated M.I.N.D. institute - again, funded by autism speaks so kinda potentially dicey as far as my personal interests are concerned. Anyone know anything at all about this program? Any insight is awesome.

I know this post is poorly written and kinda stream of consciousness-ish - I'll edit it later when I'm at my own computer that actually has spellcheck.



Last edited by Jaejoongfangirl on 06 Jun 2011, 4:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

tomboy4good
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06 Jun 2011, 4:13 pm

Yeah research is something that's near & dear to my heart. I could & do research constantly. Unfortunately for me, I'd need at least a bachelor's degree with a goal towards a graduate's degree in order to get my foot in the door. Seems kinda sucky that you have to have so much education.


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Jaejoongfangirl
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06 Jun 2011, 4:23 pm

tomboy4good wrote:
Yeah research is something that's near & dear to my heart. I could & do research constantly. Unfortunately for me, I'd need at least a bachelor's degree with a goal towards a graduate's degree in order to get my foot in the door. Seems kinda sucky that you have to have so much education.

It does kind make it tough - grad school's a very long, caffiene-y road to where you want to end up if your main goal is to do research.

I really love school and have figured out how to adapt well enough that I actually enjoy being in class with my peers. Right now I'm doing different kinds of research and planning on pursuing a PhD in biochem or chem once I get my B.S. so my research being on autism would just be an amazing plus for me. I'm doing the schooling one way or another and I feel like it would just make sense for me to learn more about autism.



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09 Jun 2011, 5:28 pm

Well, biomedical research still mostly focuses on understanding biological processes with the end goal of treating or preventing illnesses, and to the wider medical community ASD still falls under the umbrella of "illnesses". Unless you can find a wealthy philanthropist who's on the spectrum and is ok with that, you're most likely going to have to resort to funding sources like Autism Speaks. Even if you were to get an NIH grant from the federal government (if you're in the US), it's important to understand that people will expect you to treat ASD as a disease and not simply as a different neurology. It might be better to save any "alternate neurology" hypotheses for dissertation or postdoctoral research conducted in collaboration with very high-profile labs, or when you've already gotten tenure and have more intellectual freedom to pursue your own research interests. To do otherwise will invite controversy in your field, and other people in the field won't take you seriously if you do not have the publication record or famous names to back you up. And in the end, having people not believe you just plain sucks.

B!tching and moaning aside... since you're asking about labs/programs/institutes, you could always do a Google search for programs and institutes that do ASD-related research or some sort of behavioral neuroscience. Probably a better route would be to do some PubMed searches and read some review articles and primary research articles related to the research you're interested in. Review articles will typically mention the range of hypotheses currently prominent in the field, and are a good starting point for further reading. There may be a few labs with less conventional hypotheses and approaches which may be to your liking. You could also try to ask some of the scientists in your department about people they know about in the ASD neuroscience field.

Sorry if this may not be as specific as you might like it to be; neuroscience isn't my field (genetics is), but hopefully this helps some.


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