Autism Speaks  just announced its ninth class of Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellows. Selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, this year’s fellows includes Maya Reiter, doctoral student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Under the mentorship of Dr. Ralph-Axel Müller, Ms. Reiter will use noninvasive brain imaging techniques to assess the risk for challenges in mental health and daily living among adolescents affected by autism. Her goal is to guide the development of more-effective programs for supporting a successful transition to adulthood. Read more about her research project here.

Autism Speaks established the Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship Program in 2008 with a generous grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The program honors the late financier Sir Dennis Weatherstone and his commitment to the education of early career scientists pursuing autism research. Lady Weatherstone and daughter Cheryl Weatherstone-Vance continue to actively support this fellowship program on a personal level.

The 2017 class brings the number of Autism Speaks Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellows to 71 – making it the largest and arguably most consequential fellowship program in the field of autism research.

A panel of scientists, medical specialists and community advocates reviewed a highly qualified field of applicants to select this year’s fellows, who were approved by the Autism Speaks Board of Directors. Their scientific projects include a broad range of basic and applied research studies – all sharing the goal of improving the lives of children and adults on the autism spectrum.

“By funding the development of these early career scientists, we are fostering the innovative ideas and powerful collaborations needed to truly enhance the lives of people with autism,” says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Thomas Frazier. “The Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowships are key to broadening and deepening research focused on understanding autism and the needs of those affected by it.”