Texas Tech Receives Gift for MRI-based Autism Research
April 9, 2010
With a $500,000 gift enabling the use of emerging technology in the neuroimaging field,
Texas Tech University will be on the cutting edge of autism research.
Officials from the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering and the Department
of Electrical and Computer Engineering today (April 9) accepted the gift from Allen
Howard, a 1978 electrical and computer engineering graduate, and his wife Linnie,
via their foundation, Autumn’s Foundation.
The existing lab within the department will be named Autumn’s Dawn NeuroImaging, Cognition
and Engineering (NICE) Laboratory. The NICE lab was formed in 2005 as a collaborative
effort between the Whitacre College of Engineering and the College of Human Sciences.
The lab directors are Mary Baker, associate professor in electrical engineering and
Michael O’Boyle, C.R. Hutcheson professor in the Department of Human Development and
Family Studies and assistant dean for research, College of Human Sciences.
“Both Mary and Michael want to help people with brain and cognitive disorders by revealing
fundamental principles of brain development function,” said Jon C. Strauss, interim
dean of the college. “We are truly honored to receive a gift for potentially transformative
research on autism that will be conducted in this lab.”
The lab will promote the importance of early identification of autism and Asperger’s
syndrome from a unique perspective by utilizing scientific and engineering methods.
Researchers plan to explore problems and challenges in neuroscience and neuroimaging
through an interdisciplinary team approach, incorporating the problem solving and
computational capabilities of engineers and the clinical and diagnostic skills of
NICE lab personnel will conduct a three-year clinical study that will impact autism
research through a focused neuroimaging study on mildly autistic children and children
with Asperger’s, utilizing a Near Infrared Imaging system, a revolutionary emerging
technology in the neuroimaging field.
The funds provided by the Howards and Autumn’s Foundation will supply financial support
for lab personnel, provide the opportunity to utilize fMRI equipment through a partnership
at Grace Clinic, fund travel and attendance at meetings and autism conferences while
also seeking out collaborative research opportunities.
CONTACT: Jeff Sammons, senior editor, Whitacre College of Engineering,(806) 742-3451 or email@example.com.