URMC gets award to further intellectual disabilities research

The University of Rochester Medical Center has been designated an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The award recognizes the medical center’s national leadership in research for conditions such autism, Batten disease and Rett syndrome, and will translate scientific insights into new ways to diagnose and treat these conditions, and provide patients and families access to cutting edge care.

The IDDRC at the University of Rochester will be led by John Foxe, Ph.D., director of the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience, and physician Jonathan Mink, Ph.D., chief of child neurology at Golisano Children’s Hospital. The designation is accompanied with more than $6 million in funding from NICHD.

“The new center will span research from molecule to mind and elevate and accelerate the pioneering work that our scientists and clinicians are undertaking in this field,” said Foxe. “This recognition will enable us to not only strengthen and expand the scope of research, but also attract new scientists, clinical researchers, and students, and accelerate the process of moving discoveries from the laboratory bench to the clinic in the form of new therapeutics and interventions.”

“Improving the health and wellbeing of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities has long been one of the core missions of URMC and is woven into our history dating back to the founding principles of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the creation of the biopsychosocial model, which revolutionized the approach to complex physical and mental conditions,” said Mink. “This designation will build upon this foundation and help improve the lives of patients with these conditions.”

URMC will be one of 14 NICHD-designation IDDRC institutions in the U.S. Combined with previous awards as a University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), this designation places the Medical Center among a small group of institutions recognized for their leadership in IDD research, training, care, and community partnership.