Fundamental issues in biology are how the brain develops and how its interactions with the environment influence behavior. The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School addresses these issues through wide-ranging programs of research on both typical and atypical development, which include biomedical, biobehavioral, and behavioral science dimensions relevant to intellectual and developmental disabilities. The IDDRC and its companion University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities also train professionals for careers in research and service to people with IDD and their families. UMMS IDDRC research interests include (1) understanding biological processes that occur during development of the nervous system;(2) characterizing molecular defects in genetic disorders which affect the nervous system;(3) establishing the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders and potentially related neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders;(4) identifying brain regions and functional neural systems that may be involved in IDD;(5) advancing knowledge of fundamental processes involved in learning, perception, language, and cognition;(6) applying that knowledge to improve the educational opportunities for persons with IDD;and (7) promoting healthy lifestyles for persons with IDD and their families. Four core units are proposed to encourage research responsive to the NICHD priorities listed in RFA HD-09-012: (A) Administration, Communications, and Mentorship;(B) Basic Neurobiology Research Support;(C) Quantitative Methodologies, and (D) Clinical and Translational Research Support. Each core unit features state-of-the-art equipment, facilities, and/or problem-solving capability, and each gives high quality, cost-effective service to a variety of PHS-funded projects. The collective operations of the cores will both enhance existing IDD research and stimulate new interdisciplinary and translational research in IDD at UMMS and its affiliated institutions.
The IDD Research Center at the University of Massachusetts conducts a comprehensive program of research, training, and service relevant to the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Research programs supported by this program are directed at better understanding of such disabilities and better methods for preventing them and/or reducing their impact on individuals and society.
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