The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT has announced the establishment of a new center dedicated to autism research. The center is made possible by a kick-off commitment of $20 million, made by Lisa Yang and MIT alumnus Hock Tan ’75 SM ’75.
The Hock E. Tan and K. Lisa Yang Center for Autism Research will support research on the genetic, biological, and neural bases of autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disability estimated to affect 1 in 68 individuals in the United States. Tan and Yang hope their initial investment will stimulate additional support and help foster collaborative research efforts to erase the devastating effects of this disorder on individuals, their families, and the broader autism community.
Originally from Penang, Malaysia, Tan has held several high-level finance and executive positions since leaving MIT. He is currently CEO of chipmaker Broadcom, Ltd.
Research at the Tan-Yang Center will focus on four major lines of investigation: genetics, neural circuits, novel autism models, and the translation of basic research to the clinical setting. By focusing research efforts on the origins of autism in our genes, in the womb and in the first years of life, the Tan-Yang Center aims to develop methods to better detect and potentially prevent autism spectrum disorders entirely. To help meet this challenge, the center will support collaborations across multiple disciplines -- from genes to neural circuits -- both within and beyond MIT.