AUCD commentary for Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month highlights contributions by CIDD Investigators.
On April 21, 2016 the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill helped launch SPARK, a research initiative designed to become the largest genetic research study for autism ever undertaken in the United States. The nationwide project will collect information and DNA from 50,000 individuals with autism - and their families - to better understand the causes of this condition and help usher in an era for personalized medicine and targeted treatment for people on the autism spectrum.
The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) has awarded Accelerator Grants to two exceptional projects that will study new treatment mechanisms and improve data collection methods in community settings. Principal Investigators on the projects are CIDD graduate research assistants, Rachel Greene (supervised by Garret Stuber and Gabriel Dichter) and Maya Mosner (supervised by Gabriel Dichter). These studies were the only two awards funded by the ASF in this round of selection.
Joseph Piven, MD, and his team at the CIDD are trying to fill the gaps in our understanding of what it has meant and will mean to live with autism as older adults.
CIDD Investigator and faculty member, Gabriel Dichter, Ph.D., has been awarded the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty for his advances in understanding the neural mechanisms of social motivation in autism. Prior CIDD research faculty award winners include Drs. Garret Stuber, Mark Zylka, and Ayse Belger.
Last December, researchers identified more than 1,000 gene mutations in individuals with autism, but how these mutations increased risk for autism was unclear. Now, UNC School of Medicine researchers are the first to show how one of these mutations disables a molecular switch in one of these genes and causes autism.
The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is recruiting a trainee with a developmental disability for inclusion in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program. This is a nine-month commitment for the 2015-2016 academic year. Applications are due March 20, 2015. For more information contact Donna.Yerby@cidd.unc.edu.
The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (www.cidd.unc.edu) invites applications for postdoctoral leadership training in psychology. The CIDD is home to three core federal training initiatives which offer clinical and research opportunities: University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service (UCEDD); Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND); and the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC).
The CIDD offers interdisciplinary clinical and research training designed to promote advanced competencies in intellectual/developmental disabilities. The post-doctoral fellowship allows specialization in intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, early childhood, genetic conditions, co-occurring psychiatric/behavioral disorders, community consultations, and pediatric neuropsychology.
The fellowship is a minimum of twelve months in duration, beginning September 1, 2015 with the possibility of a second year of training pending funding. Salary determination follows NIH and university guidelines.
- completed doctoral degree in an applied area of psychology
- clinically-based psychology internship
- demonstrated interest and experience in intellectual/developmental disabilities
To apply, please send a letter detailing professional interests and goals, CV, and three letters of recommendation to Dr. Rebecca Edmondson Pretzel, CIDD, UNC-CH, CB# 7255, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7255. Email applications are preferred (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Application deadline is January 9, 2015. UNC is an Equal Opportunity/ADA employer.
CIDD faculty Deborah Zuver and Donna
Carlson Yerby, co-facilitators of the North Carolina Postsecondary Education Alliance,
are working to improve college education for students with developmental
to go to the CIDD Facebook page and view our video.
The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Edmondson Pretzel, PhD as the new Associate Director of the Institute. Dr. Pretzel is a psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry. At the CIDD, she serves as the Associate Director of our federally-funded University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) program, Director of Clinical Services, and Psychology Section Head. In addition, she is an investigator on a variety of research and training grants and supervises numerous graduate students and junior faculty. Through her longstanding experience working with many N.C. service agencies (e.g., the Department of Public Instruction, Early Intervention Branch and Division of MH/DD/SAS), Dr. Pretzel has played an important role in raising the level of care for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in the state.
Several CIDD staff and affiliates, including Dr. Mark Zylka, are featured in WBTV News 3's "On Your Side" special, "Autism: Answers and Understanding". The show examined many of the key issues facing families who have a child on the Autism spectrum.
Ann Palmer is the new Family Faculty member for the LEND Program at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She is a parent of an adult son with autism and a professional working in the field of autism for the last 20 years.
Questionnaire completed by parents may help identify 1-year-olds at risk for autism.
Kellen Hassell rode his bike from Miami, Fla., to Chapel Hill in seven days, traveling almost 1,000 miles, to draw attention to Angelman Syndrome, a rare developmental disorder that affects his 4-year-old son Luciano, and to raise funds for research for a cure. Hassell raised more than $15,000 and presented the check to UNC's Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities.
Read more »
SPARK, the largest genetic research effort ever in the United States, could help doctors better understand the cause and effects of autism, which could lead to more targeted treatments.
View Video on WRAL >> »
A new UNC School of Medicine study shows how chemicals designed to protect crops can cause gene expression changes in mouse brain cells that look strikingly similar to changes in the brains of people with autism and Alzheimer’s disease.
Read more >> »
Steven J. Gray is featured in a CBS News report on a new gene therapy approach to treat rare diseases.
View Video on CBS »
One out of 68 children born in the United States is later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. University of North Carolina researchers believe they have found a cause for one form of the disorder.
View Video on WRAL »
Dendrites, the branch-like projections of neurons, were once thought to be passive wiring in the brain. But now researchers at UNC have shown that dendrites actively process information, multiplying the brain’s computing power. The finding could help researchers better understand neurological disorders.
Read more »
Ben Philpot, Mark Zylka, colleagues find potential cause of autism. Findings published in the journal Nature outline the effects that key enzymes called topoisomerases can have on the genetic machinery behind brain development.
Read the article »
CIDD faculty discuss scientific challenges to autism cure on the CBS Evening News
View Video on CBS »
Researchers led by Benjamin D. Philpot, PhD, may have pinpointed an underlying cause of the seizures in people with Angelman syndrome (AS).
Read Abstract at Neuron »
Dr. Joe Piven, Director of the Carolina Institute, discusses using brain scans to detect early signs of Autism.
View Video on NBC »
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The Carolina Institute Newsletter
Dr. Joe Piven, Director of the Carolina Institute, discusses Autism on the CBS Evening News
Congratulations to Drs. Ben Philpot, Bryan Roth, and Terry Magnuson, who were awarded $2.2 million by The Rett Syndrome Research Trust to attempt reversing the course of Rett syndrome by a gene unsilencing approach. There is no mystery about why a girl suffers from Rett syndrome – the disorder is due to mutations in the MECP2 gene. Because MECP2 is on the X chromosome and all females have two X’s, each active mutated gene rests beside a healthy but silenced twin. This biology suggests that a small molecule activation of the silenced MECP2 gene might prove therapeutic for Rett syndrome.
A recent paper by CIDD investigators Philpot, Roth, and Zylka published in Nature describes successful reactivation of the silenced gene in Angelman syndrome, demonstrating that gene unsilencing is possible.
To read more please click the link below.
February 15, 2013
The Angelman Syndrome Foundation (ASF) has awarded the Joseph E. Wagstaff Postdoctoral Fellowship to Angela Mabb, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. This prestigious two-year award will fund promising Angelman syndrome research and will allow continued investigation into a potential treatment for AS. The research Dr. Mabb will conduct builds upon previous ASF-funded research and further evaluates topoisomerase inhibitors for their therapeutic effectiveness for individuals with AS.
For more information about AS and the ASF, please visit www.angelman.org.
February 6, 2013
Congratulations to Becky Edmondson for being selected to serve another term as Act Early Ambassador for the state of North Carolina!
This program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The primary objective of each State Ambassador is to support innovative State programs, which serve to strengthen state and community systems for early identification and intervention for children with signs of autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.
February 1, 2013