Vanderbilt receives nearly $1 million grant to train developmental disability researchers across disciplines

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development and the Vanderbilt Center for Human Genetics Research have been awarded a $980,922 grant from the National Institutes of Health Roadmap Initiative to support postdoctoral training in understanding and treating developmental disabilities. The funds will support four postdoctoral trainees for five years.

“This new program brings together various fields that have a stake in better diagnosis and treatment of developmental disorders that impact cognition and mental health,” Pat Levitt, director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center said. Levitt and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Associate Director Elisabeth Dykens will lead the new program. “The NIH Roadmap initiative was designed to stimulate such cross-disciplinary interactions. We at Vanderbilt University are fortunate to have outstanding researchers who believe in the value of training a new generation of scientists who will become facile at moving across behavior and biomedical disciplines.”

Vanderbilt faculty representing 15 various departments from the School of Medicine, Peabody College and the College of Arts and Science also serve on the grant team, providing a unique interdisciplinary approach.

“This training partnership between the Center for Human Genetics and the Kennedy Center speaks to our ability to leverage our strongest programs across the university to attract the most competitive funds to educate the scientists of the future,” Jeffrey Balser, associate vice chancellor for research, said.

The new training program includes research efforts focused on developing better diagnostic tools and new interventions for children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities. It facilitates ongoing, interdisciplinary application of behavioral and biological interventions in the community.

For more information on the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and its various programs and clinics, please visit For information on the Center for Human Genetics, please visit

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Media contacts: Stephanie Newton, (615) 322-8240

Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

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