By E. Mark Mahone, PhD
Director, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center
Kennedy Krieger Institute/ Johns Hopkins University
On behalf of our faculty and staff members, it is my distinct pleasure to highlight the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at Kennedy Krieger Institute. The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) has graciously invited the IDDRC to provide quarterly updates, starting in 2019, about new research discoveries and how those discoveries translate to our patients and communities. I look forward to providing these updates to our community and welcome any questions and feedback along the way.
IDDRC co-director Ali Fatemi, MD, and I invite you to explore the range of expert services offered by the IDDRC, with detailed information available on our website. Eligibility for IDDRC support is open to any Kennedy Krieger or Johns Hopkins University faculty member engaged in research of relevance to intellectual and developmental disabilities. To become an IDDRC-supported investigator, interested faculty members must have at least one funded project that is relevant to the disorders outlined in our mission statement. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to access IDDRC resources through primary IDDRC investigators or mentors.
Initially founded in 1987, IDDRC functions as a research partnership between Kennedy Krieger and Johns Hopkins University, drawing on resources from both institutions. IDRRC’s overall mission is to serve as the nucleus of research interest within the field of developmental disorders and facilitate new discoveries that ultimately improve the lives of individuals affected by these conditions. In 2019, the program remains one of the largest multidisciplinary centers of research in the world targeting intellectual and developmental disabilities.
IDRRC is one of 14 sites across the country funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and it participates actively in the national IDDRC network. IDRRC’s current organization includes six cores and an embedded research project, encompassing the expertise of 50 faculty and staff members from Kennedy Krieger and Johns Hopkins. The grant provides consultative and logistic support to approximately 100 studies annually, and has contributed to nearly 400 peer-reviewed research publications since 2014.
The IDDRC also actively participates in the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) national network, and with the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND) programs. Kennedy Krieger is one of only nine sites across the nation to house UCEDD, LEND and IDDRC programs within one institution.
There are many benefits for IDDRC-supported investigators, including:
- Access to IDDRC core services and consultation.
- Discounted fees for core services.
- Immediate and ongoing access to news, ideas and research findings related to intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Access to education, funding and advancement opportunities.
- Being able to describe the resources, services and expertise included in the IDDRC cores—and to state that you have access to these resources, services and expertise—in your grant applications for proposed projects.
- Being able to present research and findings through IDDRC-sponsored lectures, symposia and seminars.
The responsibilities of IDDRC-supported investigators are actually quite few, and include:
- Conducting research in accordance with the IDDRC mission statement.
- Using proper IDDRC and National Institutes of Health acknowledgement (U54 HD079123) for all publications and presentations benefiting from core services.
- Reporting progress regularly on research activities, grants and publications relating to IDDRC-supported projects.
- Completing an annual evaluation of IDDRC core services.
- Contributing to scientific dialogue in the Kennedy Krieger-Johns Hopkins community through lectures, symposia, communications and seminars.