University of Missouri
205 Portland Street
Columbia, MO 65211



SPARK is a free online study with a simple mission: to speed up research and advance the understanding of autism. By building a community of tens of thousands of individuals with autism and their biological family members who provide behavioral and genetic data, SPARK will be the largest autism research study to date.

Participation in SPARK can be done entirely at home — register online here.

Find out more about what’s involved on our SPARK page.

Questions? Contact Amanda Shocklee at 573-884-6092 or

Validation of a Salivary miRNA Diagnostic Test for Autism Spectrum Disorder

The purpose of this study is to validate the ability of a salivary RNA panel (diagnostic test) to differentiate children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from those with developmental delays. This study will help to further aid in diagnosing individuals with ASD.

Exploring Cognitive Abilities in Girls and Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The goal of the study is to better understand possible gender-related differences in memory and cognitive abilities in boys and girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Participants will complete computer tests of thinking skills and memory, as well as complete questionnaires about thoughts and behaviors. We offer flexible scheduling including evening and weekend appointments.

Trial of Propranolol in Children and Youth with ASD and Predictors of Response

The purpose of this study is to investigate how propranolol—a drug generally prescribed for high blood pressure—might improve social communication in those with autism. We will also be looking into possible relationships between autism symptoms and how well someone responds to propranolol.

Feline Friends

The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of the adoption of a shelter cat for a child with autism and their family, and to study the experience of the cats in these new adoptive homes. This research is being done because there is currently no research showing the impact of cat adoption for children with autism and their families.

Physical Exercise to Reduce Anxiety in Children with Autism (PETRA)

The primary goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a physical exercise intervention program to determine its effectiveness in reducing anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders. This study is specifically targeting under served children and families.