U.Va. autism center would unite work of researchers
Planned U.Va. autism center to unite work of myriad researchers
Richmond Times-Dispatch - 4/27/2017
The Curry School of Education, the School of Medicine and the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences all have different projects focusing on autism.
CHARLOTTESVILLE - The University of Virginia plans to open a new interdisciplinary autism research center in the next five years.
The purpose of the center will be to bring together the work of autism researchers and clinicians across schools - the Curry School of Education, the School of Medicine and the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences all have different projects focusing on autism.
At a conference on Monday morning, Dr. Jaideep Kapur, director of the U.Va. Brain Institute, envisioned a range of services offered by the center, including clinical care for patients and training for parents and teachers of autistic children, in addition to research.
"We don't have enough pediatric neurologists to take care of all children," Kapur said. "It will take a community of teachers, of speech pathologists, of institutions like U.Va. - training a group of people who can provide services to every child."
On the research side, the university has separate projects looking at potential causes and contributing factors of autism, including work by the Kipnis Lab exploring the connection between the brain and the immune system.
Researchers also are exploring genetic and neurological factors, and Kapur said the investigators in each of these projects must piece them together into a bigger picture.
If the university can do that, Kapur said, it has the chance to be a leader in the field of autism research and treatment, which is becoming increasingly important.
The center is still in the earliest planning stages and will need to raise about $6 million.
Derek Quizon is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7265, firstname.lastname@example.org or @DPHigherEd on Twitter.