Medical school professor receives $2 million to study male bias in autism

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A professor from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences received more than $2 million for autism reserach.

A professor in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences received more than $2 million to study why autism is more prevalent in males than females, according to a University release Thursday.

Chiara Manzini, an assistant professor of pharmacology and physiology, will use the funds to study the CC2D1A gene and determine why mutations on the gene – which prompt autism and other cognitive disorders – are more prevalent in males. The more than $2 million grant was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Manzini, who spent the past five years researching the topic, said in the release that the findings could lead to improved treatment for cognitive disorders.

“If there are fundamental differences that make males more susceptible to autism, this can be targeted by therapy development,” she said in the release.

She added that the research could also explain why more females are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, another cognitive disorder, later in life.

Manzini will conduct the study with a team of researchers from the medical school and Peter Nemes, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Maryland.

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