Spring 2016
In This Issue
CHOP/Penn IDDRC Renewed for 5-Year Cycle
New Brain Study Tailored for Nonverbal Children with Autism
Researchers Examine Obesity, Cardiovascular Risks in Down Syndrome
Alavi-Dabiri Postdoctoral Fellowship Awarded to Dr. Rebecca Ahrens-Nicklas
CHOP/ Penn IDDRC Renewed for 5-Year Cycle
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) has renewed the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at CHOP/Penn for the next 5 years. This award marks the sixth uninterrupted funding cycle of this grant for CHOP since 1990. As a provision of the grant, each Center must address a crucial aspect of IDD. At CHOP/Penn, we are supporting a study to develop a novel brain biomarker using magnetoencephalography to diagnose and evaluate minimally verbal people with an autistic spectrum disorder. Read on to learn more about the key projects and capabilities of IDDRC at CHOP/Penn >>
New Brain Study Tailored for Nonverbal Children on the Autism Spectrum
The children who speak least - or not at all - are rarely represented in cutting-edge brain imaging research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A signature project of the CHOP/Penn IDDRC aims to change that with a new study enrolling children with ASD who are minimally verbal or nonverbal. Learn more >>
Researchers Examine Obesity, Cardiovascular Risks in Down Syndrome
Children with Down syndrome   are prone to obesity, and their families may be concerned about future risk for cardiovascular problems as well as their quality of life. Two IDDRC investigators are leading a multidisciplinary study team to determine if BMI is the best way to define obesity in teens with Down syndrome or if there is another measure of body composition that could better predict cardiovascular and metabolic risk in this patient population.
Alavi-Dabiri Postdoctoral Fellowship Awardee: Dr. Rebecca Ahrens-Nicklas
The Alavi-Dabiri fellowship was created in 1997 by Drs. Abass and Jane Alavi to honor their nephew, Ramin Dabiri, who has a developmental disability, and his parents, Maryam Alavi and John Dabiri. This award, which is administered by the IDDRC, provides one year of support to a postdoctoral fellow who works under the mentorship of one or more members of the IDDRC. The 2015 awardee is Dr. Rebecca Ahrens-Nicklas, a fellow in the Divisions of Human Genetics and Metabolism at CHOP. Her proposal, "Electrophysiologic Consequences of Inborn Errors of Metabolism," focuses on Juvenile Batten Disease (JBD), a lysosomal storage disorder which causes vision loss, seizures and relentless neurologic decline. Learn More >> 
Upcoming Events

The CHOP/Penn IDDRC sponsors monthly seminars on Tuesday afternoons from 12-1 PM in CHOP's Abramson Research Center, Conference Room 123-ABC. To attend, contact Kristen Hearty at 
heartyk@email.chop.edu or 215-590-3728

Neuroscience Chalk Talks provide an opportunity for  junior investigators to present ongoing research findings to the Penn/CHOP DD community in an informal atmosphere. Chalk Talks are held in the 5th Floor Lounge of CHOP's Abramson Research Center monthly on Wednesdays at 4 PM. Contact Kristen Hearty at heartyk@email.chop.edu or 215-590-3728 with questions.

 IDDRC Leadership




Marc Yudkoff, MD 

Michael B. Robinson, PhD

Robert T. Schultz, PhD


Kristen M. Hearty

Center Administrator



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