Research and Discovery

The Emory Autism Center is committed to cutting edge research with the goal of providing support to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as their families and communities.  For more information on research with the Emory Autism Center, please contact Opal Ousley at or 404-727-8350.

The National Institutes of Health provides many online resources for people who want to learn about research. Please review the tabs below to learn more.

Why do researchers conduct different kinds of different studies?

For more information on why researchers conduct different kinds of different studies, click here.

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are research projects that are designed to determine if an intervention will improve a person’s health.

In 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) defined a clinical trial as “a research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and NIH have created specific policies to regulate clinical trials.  Clinical trials are classified into different phases.  Each phase has a different purpose and helps researchers answer different questions.

  • Phase I trials: Researchers test an experimental drug or treatment in a small group of people (20–80) for the first time. The purpose is to evaluate its safety and identify side effects.
  • Phase II trials: The experimental drug or treatment is administered to a larger group of people (100–300) to determine its effectiveness and to further evaluate its safety.
  • Phase III trials: The experimental drug or treatment is administered to large groups of people (1,000–3,000) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it with standard or equivalent treatments, and collect information that will allow the experimental drug or treatment to be used safely.
  • Phase IV trials: After a drug is approved by the FDA and made available to the public, researchers track its safety, seeking more information about a drug or treatment’s risks, benefits, and optimal use.

How to know if a research project is right for you?