The Centre for Advanced Research & Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders in Bangalore
The Centre for Advanced Research & Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders (CARE-ADD) was established in 2019 by a great visionary and leader, the late Dr. Ashok Mysore, Centre Head and Professor of Psychiatry, St. John’s Medical College, St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India.
CARE-ADD is a multi-disciplinary research centre that aims to track the biological underpinnings of autism and related developmental disorders while also exploring cost-effective interventions. The translational output includes the development of tools and technologies for early detection and intervention of autism and related developmental disorders and the development of scalable models of care for public health in the state of Karnataka, India. The centre envisages developing nationwide research networks and training a wide variety of professionals.
Basic and Translational Research: The centre will conduct foundational research in genomics, brain studies, and child behaviours. The goal is to uncover the myriad complex relationships among genetics, brain circuitry, and behaviour by developing computational models exploiting the advancements in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) approaches, leading to a better understanding of autism. Research and services at CARE-ADD come together with the shared vision of incorporating a multi-modal approach, learning from the astute observations of parents, and responding to their needs.
One of the key initiatives of this centre include a novel theme, referred to as OPEN (Obstetrics, Placenta, Epigenetics, and Neurodevelopment). OPEN uses the placenta as a source of genetic material to understand how prenatal factors may contribute to brain development with the longitudinal study of child development until the age of 15 years. Towards this theme, the centre is actively working to understand the genetic diversity of the autistic family in the Asian sub-continent by blood biobanking of families with autism. We aim to develop a stem cell-based model to study the role of epitranscriptome-based modification and regulation in translation.
Clinical Services: The centre provides screening, assessments, therapy, education, and parent training programmes to address current challenges in autism intervention services. The interventions will be tailored to the specific needs of the children. CARE-ADD envisions the development of early identification and intervention models that can be replicated across secondary public health centres within the state. These models will be based on its current approach to clinical services.
Developing Networks and Training Professionals: CARE-ADD aims to collaborate with research centres across the country to facilitate knowledge sharing and transfer amongst professionals working in shared areas of research. A fellowship model is being developed along with collaboration projects in many other specialized centres. A long-term goal of the centre is to offer specialized training programmes to equip a variety of health professionals across the state of Karnataka, India to deliver early identification and intervention services.
St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences
The views expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the NLM Family Foundation.