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  • Uli K. Chettipally, MD, MPH

Why should those affected by a condition be advocates of research?

Here are 3 reasons:

1. Bring up problems that are important to solve

2. Cheer and support those who are innovating

3. Add your voice to encourage funding agencies

Last month we had the opportunity to be a part of Synchrony2023, an autism research symposium hosted by The BRAIN Foundation. The Symposium was amazing, with talks, round tables and research presentations, including a keynote by Nobel Laureate, Dr. Mario Capecchi - it was top notch! And what’s not to like about a California coast venue?

I like to take Siri, our daughter with autism, to these meetings. I feel fortunate to be able to do that, due to her disposition. She is a trooper. She loves to listen to talks and watch people chat, especially when the point of conversation is focused on her and her work.

Many parents do show up with their children. In fact,The BRAIN Foundation was started by parents of children with autism, to take on the humongous task of funding and supporting autism researchers. We are forever grateful and support their continuing hard work.

So, why is autism such a big deal? Well, it is the fastest growing neurodevelopmental disorder. Every thing about autism is challenging or mostly unknown including, cause, risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management. It’s a lifelong condition that strains every aspect of the society including, families, schools, healthcare, social services, support services and budgets. An estimated 7 million people are affected by it in the US.

Although Siri is non-verbal and uses a board to communicate, she feels compelled to advocate for those with autism who cannot speak. She said, “I want others like me to stop being underestimated. Please hear our voices”.

It was at Synchrony that we first announced our startup, Sirica Therapeutics. And this time we were able to showcase the progress over the last one year and our first clinical study at Synchrony. Thanks to Pramila Srinivasan and Sarika Agrawal, for hosting and the opportunity to engage with families and researchers. I would urge you to become a supporter of this organization.

At Sirica, we are building a digital therapeutic system for autism using robotics, virtual reality and video gaming. Our team, advisors and investors are people who have a personal connection with autism. Siri is one of the 9 participants with autism in the clinical study we recently conducted. Checkout the video at

Connect with us to stay in touch and support us as we raise our pre-seed investment round.


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