SPARK: Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge

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.

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
  • A $50 gift card once you have completed registration for SPARK and mailed back the saliva samples

Register for SPARK Today

All data provided to SPARK will be stored without any identifying information and kept confidential.

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 swab 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.

Study status

Enrolling participants

For more information:

Dalia Istephanous, SPARK coordinator

or call: 612-624-0116


Help us spread awareness of our efforts to research and connect the Autism community. Together we can make a difference!

Contact the Jacob Lab