News Briefs

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January 25, 2012

Career Development Awards from NIH Encourage Research

Every year, in an effort to encourage medical research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants funding to clinicians interested in focusing their careers on research. These awards require them to spend a minimum of 75 percent of their efforts on research activities. In 2002, the NIH granted 3,000 awards, totaling more than $400 million, to researchers across the country. Nearly $1 million was granted to several scientists at Kennedy Krieger and its Atlanta affiliate, Marcus Institute. These individuals include Harolyn Belcher, MD, Jaswinder Ghuman, MD, Melissa Goldberg, PhD, Paula Lockhart, MD, Stewart Mostofsky, MD, and Cathleen Piazza, PhD, and Amy Bastian, PhD, received the award in 2001, and Marco Grados, MD, MPH, received it this year. Thus far, a total of 16 awards have been granted to support the Institute's research activities.

Kennedy Krieger scientists receive various types of Career Development Awards from the NIH. One award allows them to change the focus of their study, while another allows them to more fully develop their research in a particular clinical arena.

Dr. Piazza, director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Clinic at the Marcus Institute, devotes her time to conducting clinical research on the physiological and behavioral causes of feeding problems and to guiding novice clinicians on their projects. "This grant has been extremely helpful in achieving the goal of promoting our research agenda in Pediatric Feeding Disorders and in training junior clinicians to conduct research," she says.

Bulldogs Basketball Team Wins Championship

Kennedy Krieger Institute's High School Bulldogs basketball team ended its third season with the sweet taste of victory. On March 27, the team won the "B" division championship game, beating the Woodbourne School in Baltimore, 34-30. This is the team's first big win. In 2001, the Bulldogs won second place. Chuck Banks, Lisa Roberts and Josh Van Kirk coached the team, comprising of adolescents with special needs. The Bulldogs played a great game that came down to the wire. "The players showed good teamwork," says Roberts. "They played really well together." Parents and Kennedy Krieger staff were supportive during the season. Their encouragement is much appreciated.

Award-Winning Video on Autism Features Kennedy Krieger Researcher

Kennedy Krieger Researcher Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., has been featured in an award-winning video, called "On the Spectrum," designed to help physicians recognize the early warning signs of autism spectrum disorders and understand the impact of early and appropriate intervention.

Hosted by Leslie Stahl of "60 Minutes," and featuring actor Anthony Edwards of "ER," the 20-minute video provides guidelines for conducting a developmental screening, outlines the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders and describes how to relay developmental concerns to parents.

"On the Spectrum" draws upon clinical expertise, through interviews with some of the top experts in the field, including Dr. Landa. Her Infant Development Study is one of the world's most promising new studies of children with autism, designed to identify the signs of the neurological disorder early on in a child's life, leading to earlier intervention and improved outcomes.

The video was created in collaboration with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community, Inc., and First Signs, Inc. In July 2002, "On the Spectrum" was awarded the Media Excellence in Video Award from the Autism Society of America. For more information, contact First Signs at (978) 346-4380 or visit its website at

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