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SPARK: Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge

SPARK is a landmark national autism research study designed to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives. SPARK is sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.

To learn more about SPARK and register online via a secure portal, visit

What is SPARK?

What is SPARK?

  • SPARK is a free online study with a simple mission: to speed up research and advance the understanding of autism
  • SPARK aims to be the largest study of its kind with the goal of building a community of 50,000 individuals with autism and their families across the nation 
  • The entire autism community is encouraged to participate, including individuals with autism, their parents and siblings 
  • By increasing the number of research participants, SPARK aims to help make new research possible that was not in the past

An important part of SPARK is the collection of genetic information (called “DNA”) so it can be analyzed to improve what we know about the role of specific cells called “genes” that have an impact on the development of autism. SPARK will ask you to share basic information about your medical and family history, and if you choose, a DNA sample using a saliva collection kit.

SPARK is sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), a scientific initiative of the Simons Foundation.

Why Participate in SPARK?

Why Participate in SPARK?

While we are making important progress in learning about autism, we simply don’t know enough. By joining SPARK, you’re helping speed the search for causes and treatments for autism.

Additionally, you may be able to receive:

  • Updates on the latest research 
  • Access to experts who will share information to help address daily situations
  • Results from the tests of your and your family’s DNA, if you choose to receive this information and a genetic cause for autism is identified 
  • Individuals with autism will receive gift cards valued at up to a total of $50 for participation

Register for SPARK Today

Register for SPARK Today

To learn more about SPARK and register online via a secure portal, visit All data provided to SPARK will be stored without any identifying information and kept confidential

What to Expect After Registration

What to Expect After Registration

After you register, a saliva kit will be shipped directly to your home with clear instructions for collection and return shipping. The kit includes a tube for collecting saliva, as well as an absorbent sponge that can be used for anyone who is not able to spit. If you prefer, you can provide a saliva sample in-person by scheduling an appointment with the Jacob Lab by calling at 612-624-0116.

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