Kennedy Krieger Institute Names Dr. Amy J. Bastian as First Chief Science Officer

Sowmya Nath,'s picture
May 07, 2015
Bastian to identify new directions and research opportunities to help children and young adults with developmental disorders and injuries.

BALTIMORE, MD – Amy J. Bastian, Ph.D., a neuroscientist who serves as Director of Kennedy Krieger’s Motion Analysis Lab, has been chosen as the Institute’s first Chief Science Officer. Bastian is charged with identifying new directions and opportunities to facilitate the next generation of the Institute’s groundbreaking scientific efforts to find preventions and cures for disorders of the developing brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal system.

Bastian intends to put a heavy focus on connecting cellular science with human clinical work to foster translational science that informs the underlying mechanisms by which the brain and body recover and learn. “From the bench to the clinic, the science here is rigorous, important and internationally known. We are tackling problems that relatively few others in the country are addressing in order to benefit children with special needs who are clearly underserved by the broader research community,” said Dr. Amy Bastian, Chief Science Officer at Kennedy Krieger Institute. “We really feel an obligation to leverage our clinicians and educators with the talent, strengths and synergies of our researchers to ensure we can do even more to help this population.”

Bastian hopes that improved collaboration will also attract new funding sources. She plans to explore non-traditional avenues for raising money, including grassroots fundraising approaches that will help to accelerate the speed of research by reducing reliance on federal funds.

“We’re dealing with a tough research environment in this country right now as government funding has dwindled,” said Dr. Bastian. “Nationwide, the research culture is a mode of survival, but by building bridges across levels of science and study, we’re going to create more opportunities for funding.”

The Institute’s interest in creating the position of Chief Science Officer speaks to the significant volume of ongoing research relative to the overall size of the organization. Kennedy Krieger employs 160 faculty and currently has 288 active research studies. The Senior Management Team and Board of Directors of Kennedy Krieger Institute recognize that it is the complex care provided to our many patient and student populations that distinguishes us from traditional research institutions. Our clinicians and teachers are essential collaborators to reach the goal of finding preventions and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Bastian’s own contributions to science are extensive and she will continue to pursue her research while taking on this new role. As a neuroscientist and physical therapist, Bastian studies the neural control of human movement, a topic on which she has coauthored over 100 scientific papers. She uses computerized movement tracking techniques, non-invasive brain stimulation, novel devices and robotics to study how people with and without neurological damage control movement and learn new patterns.

Bastian is currently the primary investigator on seven research studies, including two grants from the National Institutes of Health, one of which recently received a prestigious Javits award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In addition to her roles at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Bastian holds the rank of Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, with a joint appointment in Neurology.

“Children are the future of our country and our world, yet the amount of biomedical science studying how we evaluate, treat and prevent problems in our children is minimal compared to what we do for adults,” said Dr. Bastian. “I’m excited and honored to have this opportunity to help Kennedy Krieger continue to change that.”

ABOUT THE KENNEDY KRIEGER INSTITUTE

Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and young adults with disorders and inju-ries of the brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal system, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD, serves more than 20,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis. For more information on the Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit www.kennedykrieger.org.

Media Contact:

Katie Willmott
Phone: (443) 923-7338
Email: Willmott@kennedykrieger.org

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