SFARI Programs

SIMONS FOUNDATION

The Simons Foundation is a private foundation that advances autism research. We do this by supporting the work that advances the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences.

We provide funding for research through the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). SFARI aims to improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by supporting research initiatives.

SFARI Research Initiatives [click here to download the image]

Simons Searchlight

Simons Searchlight is our international registry for genetic conditions that are associated with autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders. We aim to collect information from participants to better understand the life course of these individuals. This is a “genes first” cohort. Notably, about 34 percent of registrants have a formal diagnosis of autism. You can find our growing list of the genetic conditions we study here.

SPARK, Simons Powering Autism Research

SPARK recruits and engages a community of people with autism and their families living in the U.S. to participate in research studies. We collaborate with 31 university-affiliated autism centers across the country. Some people who receive a genetic diagnosis from SPARK will be invited to participate in Simons Searchlight to continue their research journey.

Autism BrainNet

Autism BrainNet is our biorepository of postmortem brain tissue made possible through a collaborative network of academic sites that collect, store, and distribute brain tissue. Simons Searchlight and Autism BrainNet share data to make research easier.

SFARI Research Resources

SFARI has contributed to over 1,460 research publications, provided research funding to more than 550 investigators in the U.S. and abroad, and had 411 researchers or companies access SFARI cohort data or biospecimens as of early 2021.

SFARI offers funding for researchers around the world to support studies relevant to our mission. Any researchers studying one of Simons Searchlight’s genetic conditions may apply.

iPSCs, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

We use blood sample donations from some of our Simons Searchlight participants to create iPSCs. All iPSCs are available for distribution to approved researchers through SFARI Base. This program allows researchers to study human disease in a lab setting and help develop personalized medicines.

SFARI Base

SFARI Base is the portal to access data and biospecimens, such as tissue, blood, and plasma, from SFARI research initiatives. SFARI Base is an online portal for submitting research requests. All data and information available here advances research and is readily available for low or no cost to all external researchers and biotech or pharmaceutical companies. Simons Searchlight data are available through SFARI Base.

Research Match

Research Match is a program designed for researchers to recruit people enrolled in Simons Searchlight or SPARK into new research studies. It is free of charge.

SFARI Gene

SFARI Gene is an open access database that provides the most up-to-date information on all known human genes that are associated with autism spectrum disorders. You can use this database to track the latest findings on genetic risk factors linked to autism and check out individual Simons Searchlight genes.

Model Organism Repository

Through SFARI funding, researchers have access to model organisms, specifically Mice, Rats, and Zebrafish.