MIT to Establish New Autism Research Center

It will be funded by a $20 million gift from Hock Tan and Lisa Yang.

Photo by Margaret Burdge

Photo by Margaret Burdge

MIT will establish a brand new autism research center, thanks to a $20 million gift from tech giant Hock Tan and disability advocate Lisa Yang.

The Hock E. Tan and K. Lisa Yang Center for Autism Research will study the condition from all angles, focusing on four major areas: genetics of the disease, its neural circuitry, novel autism models, and translating research to clinical resources. Hopefully, this multi-pronged, multi-institution approach will help researchers learn more about autism’s origins, how to treat it, and, ideally, how to prevent it in the first place.

“Support from the Tan-Yang Center will enable us to pursue exciting new directions that could not be funded by traditional sources,” Robert Desimone, director of the Tan-Yang Center’s parent McGovern Institute for Brain Research, said in a statement. “By supporting cutting-edge autism research here at MIT as well as our collaborative institutions, the center holds great promise to accelerate our basic understanding of this complex disorder.”

Tan, a 1975 graduate of MIT, is currently the CEO of chipmaker Broadcom. Yang is a retired investment banker and an outspoken supporter of equal rights for those with learning disorders and disabilities. The pair has two children with autism.