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Levin Lab Research | Overview

Autism is associated with both hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity to sensory stimuli and is thus an informative model for understanding sensory processing in the human nervous system. Our lab aims to apply methods of quantitative neurophysiology, particularly electroencephalography (EEG) signal processing, to translate basic neurobiological findings into clinically relevant measures. EEG is a noninvasive measure of neural network function with high temporal resolution that can help to understand pathways that bridge genotype to phenotype, across development. Our existing datasets and ongoing studies allow us to measure brain activity in children and adults with a variety of neurodevelopmental and neurogenetic conditions, in the awake and asleep states, and in response to a variety of tactile, auditory, and visual sensory stimuli. Our analytic techniques are also meant to be highly translatable across species, and we collaborate closely with several other labs studying animal and computational models of autism. We are also involved with (and often handle EEG analysis for) numerous single-site and multi-site studies studying conditions including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, Rett syndrome, Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, SYNGAP1-Related Disorders, and infants at high familial risk for autism. Our goals are to develop objective measures of an individual’s sensory experience and underlying neural network function, and to use these measures to develop translational biomarkers for autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions. In the long term, we aim to redefine neurodevelopmental conditions in a way that better allows our field to provide precise, individualized, mechanistically based diagnoses and treatments.

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