Federal health officials are infusing millions into a host of new research projects designed to better understand what’s behind autism and how to treat the disorder.

Some $100 million will be doled out over the next five years to fund nine different research projects, the National Institutes of Health said Tuesday.

The awards will go toward a study that will use brain imaging technology to investigate genetic links to autism as well as research into why some with the disorder learn to speak and others do not.

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Other projects receiving grants include one examining the unique experience of autism in girls and another that will assess whether an oxytocin nasal spray can improve socialization and communication in those with the developmental disorder.

The funding is part of the Autism Centers of Excellence program, an NIH initiative created in 2007 to propel “intense and coordinated” research on the causes of autism and how to treat it.