Stanford Neurodiversity Project

Neurodiversity is a concept that regards individuals with differences in brain function and behavioral traits as part of normal variation in the human population. The movement of Neurodiversity is about uncovering the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilizing their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole.

Molecular neuroimaging in adults with autism spectrum disorder

This project utilizes state-of-the-art neuroimaging system to characterize the inhibitory neurotransmitter system in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder. The overarching objective of this project is to determine the association between the GABAergic system and socio-communicative function.

Digital Phenotyping of Neurodevelopmental Disorders via Smartphones

Digital phenotyping is defined as the moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in situ using data from personal digital devices. The daily use of smartphones generates a byproduct of rich social and behavioral data, and when complemented with behavioral questionnaires, these data can address several of the research domain criteria for studying mental disorders. Specifically, our aim is to use the established research platform Beiwe, to collect research-quality smartphone raw sensor and usage data, such as GPS data and accelerometer data. Our hope is that we will be able to identify discrepancies between the raw data and the data collected from self-report surveys, so that we may move towards a more objective way of obtaining behavioral information.

Neural Basis of a Novel Auditory Subtype of Autism

The objective of our study is to investigate the neural basis of absolute pitch using data from cognitive-behavioral assessments and musical assessments, as well as imaging and EEG results. Our study involves obtaining and analyzing data from high-functioning individuals of the ASD population, in which absolute pitch has been found to have higher prevalence, as compared to typically developing controls.

Neurosteroid metabolomics of adults with autism spectrum disorder

The objective of this study is to investigate and establish the biology of neurosteroids as a possible biosignature for social anxiety and other neuropsychiatric symptoms in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Neurosteroids are endogenous hormones that have multiple biological functions, including the regulation of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis.

BuddyBot -- an artificial intelligence companion

BuddyBot is a talking artificial intelligence companion for autistic children that adaptively converses with participants to potentially identify weaknesses in and improve their conversational skills, such as reducing perseverative/fixated topics of speech and repetitive speech. We have entered BuddyBot into the 4-year, $5M IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence XPRIZE, and have been fortunate to have been selected among the top 62 out of 683 teams for Round 2 of the contest ( We are currently recruiting participants for Phase 1 of the study, which involves participants taking a web survey and conversing with the BuddyBot technology.

Development of musical abilities assessment for autism spectrum disorder

The key objective of this project is to develop a tool that will be able to assess musical abilities in individuals with ASD. This preliminary study is aimed at developing an assessment to identify the subgroup of individuals with ASD with disproportionately higher musical abilities relative to their cognitive abilities.