The Simons Searchlight research study has been well established for over ten years and is supported with long-term funding by the Simons Foundation. The Simons Searchlight team is made up of many talented staff members and is led by two principal investigators: Wendy Chung, M.D., Ph.D., and Cora Taylor, Ph.D.
Chung is a world-renowned doctor and geneticist. She has authored over 600 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 75 scholarly chapters, and she has won several awards as a doctor, researcher, and professor.
Taylor has many years of experience working with rare neurogenetic communities. She is a licensed psychologist and does diagnostic evaluations on children with a range of developmental conditions and rare genetic conditions. She also does research with a focus on individuals with rare genetic conditions.
Other team members include doctors, genetic counselors, project managers, developers, research coordinators, and communications specialists. The goal for all team members is to support the Simons Searchlight community.
The value of collecting participant data and sharing information with families
The main focus of Simons Searchlight is to shed light on rare genetic conditions by collecting high-quality information and building strong connections between researchers, families, and patient advocacy partners. The data we collect will help to provide a better understanding for your community, researchers, and doctors of what it means to have your genetic condition.
First, we collect the detailed medical and behavioral histories during your medical history interview and from surveys. The optional blood samples that we collect are also used by researchers to study your condition. We make these data and samples freely available to qualified researchers. Read more about all the data we collect from participants.
Second, we strive to not only collect data but also provide information back to participants. We summarize the information that you provide and share results back with you in multiple ways, such as patient group conference presentations and quarterly reports. We are always looking for new opportunities to provide valuable information back to the community. In addition to the data that we share, we also connect you with medical experts through conferences, webinars, networking, and other community supports.
How we share information with researchers
By collecting your information and updates from you over time, we will all learn more about how your genetic condition may change as people get older. Overall, we aim to make it easier for researchers to work on your condition, with a focus on generating knowledge that is useful and of high priority to participants.
This is why one of the core principles guiding all we do is to ensure that de-identified data are shared widely to researchers around the world. We believe that broad access to these data will speed up the pace of research, so we readily share the de-identified data and samples with qualified researchers. We have a portal called SFARI Base that is devoted to sharing resources with the research community. Learn more about SFARI Base and how researchers request participant data.