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Our theme — Genes, Brain, Behavior — reflects our ongoing effort to understand intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in three inter-related domains: the genetic anlage that causes a disability or modulates disease severity; the anomalies of brain biochemistry and neurophysiology that accompany genetic changes; and the phenomenological manifestations of these genetic/neurophysiologic alterations that we recognize as clinical manifestations of the IDD. The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center’s rationale for this reductionist approach is that the dissection of a disability into isolated and “simpler” components affords a strategy with which to develop therapies that will prevent, attenuate, or even reverse the devastating consequences of the disorder.

Over the next five years, the IDDRC will pursue this aim by deploying these tools:

  • cutting-edge research cores
  • a focus on translational research
  • the enormous clinical resources of CHOP/Penn
  • nurturing a cadre of future leaders
  • a strong emphasis on creative partnership with the IDDRC Network.

IDDRC researchers focus on an expansive list of research topics including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, behavioral disorders, Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, epilepsy, Friedreich Ataxia, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, and leukodystrophies, to name a few. The work of the Center is adjusted when necessary to accommodate new discoveries.