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Research for Mothers and Children


Research in three major program areas includes: learning disabilities; cognitive and social development; nutrition and growth; obstetric and pediatric pharmacology, and pediatric, adolescent, and maternal AIDS. Topics that may be of interest to small businesses include, but are not limited to, those identified below.

A. Child Development and Behavior. Research programs on psychological, social and emotional, psychobiological, and educational development from conception to maturity, specifically:

· Social and Affective Development, Child Maltreatment and Violence, including normative social, affective, and personality development and the impact of the physical and social environments on health and psychological development; investigations of socio-cultural, familial, individual, and biological influences on development; and child developmental processes in high-risk settings (e.g., in violent or abusive environments, or families experiencing stressors such as poverty, unemployment or parental depression).

· Developmental Cognitive Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Psychobiology, including linkages among developing brain, behavior, and genes; developmental pathways leading to normal and atypical brain development and behaviors and their underlying developmental mechanisms at the molecular, genetic, cellular and network levels; biological and behavioral indices of individual differences predictive of development at different points of development; neuroanatomical, neurofunctional, electrophysiological and neurochemical correlates of sensorimotor and cognitive abilities; tools to measure these; the effect of hormonal influences on behavioral development, including the development of gender-specific behaviors, the role of endocrines in social, emotional, and cognitive development, and the interaction of hormones and stress-related behaviors during development.

· Risk Prevention and Health Promotion: behavioral and developmental aspects of health risk behaviors and health promotion from infancy to young adulthood, including individual, interpersonal, and social factors; environmental and contextual factors; and interactions of genes and environment as they relate to health and health behaviors. Issues of risk behaviors, health literacy, adherence, pain, obesity, influence of electronic media, and influences of religiosity and spirituality are of interest.

· Reading, Writing, and Related Learning Disabilities: relative contributions of environmental, experiential, instructional, cognitive, linguistic, genetic, and neurobiological factors to the developmental reading process and to reading disabilities and writing, including the longitudinal course of development and the interactions among these factors at different stages of reading development, in both mono- and bilingual individuals; use of technology to facilitate development of reading and/or writing skills, these technologies could include but are not limited to assistive technologies, interactive technologies for use by children, adolescent or adult struggling learners as well as technologies for instructors, parents and/or caregivers for use within or outside of the classroom context, as appropriate.

· Language and Bilingualism: language development and disorders and second language acquisition, including studies within a developmental context, that identify and explicate the cognitive, linguistic, social, cultural, socioenvironmental, geographic, environmental, instructional, and neurobiological factors affecting the development of language abilities.

· Early Learning and School Readiness: experiences children need from birth to age eight to prepare them to learn, read, and succeed in school; early interactions with adults and peers; early childhood education teaching methods and curricula; comprehensive early childhood interventions that support learning and development; use of technology in promoting school readiness skills in disadvantaged children from birth to age six, including interactive technologies for use by parents, child care providers, and teachers and technologies for direct use by children.

· Math and Science Cognition, Learning and Learning Disabilities: mathematical thinking and problem solving; scientific reasoning, learning, and discovery; studies that explore the genetic and neurobiological substrates of normal and atypical development in mathematics and science learning and cognition, as well as cognitive, linguistic, sociocultural, and instructional factors; individual differences that may moderate achievement; the delineation of skill sets needed to attain proficiency; development of effective instructional methods for typical development and interventions for learning disabilities.

Dr. Peggy McCardle

301-435-6863, Fax: 301-480-7773


B. Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Growth. Research on the nutritional needs of pregnant women and their fetuses; aspects of nutrients related to reproduction, growth, and development; breast feeding and lactation; the immunology of breast milk; development of the gastrointestinal system; childhood obesity and the nutritional antecedents of adult disease; developmental endocrinology; mechanisms of hormone action during growth and development, and the impact of hormonally active agents in the environment on growth and development. Applications to advance the study of obstetric and pediatric pharmacology include: Research and tools to better characterize the impact of physiological and developmental changes on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; advancements in modeling which improve therapy during pregnancy, among premature infants, children and adolescents; research on tools to monitor the state of various organ systems during therapy in pregnancy or infancy; such as, cerebral monitors, placental function, etc.; models to characterize molecular, dosing or other modification to improve therapy.

Dr. Gilman D. Grave

301-496-5593, Fax: 301-480-9791


C. Pediatric, Adolescent, and Maternal AIDS.

Domestic and international research on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, mothers, fetuses, infants, children and adolescents. Specific areas of interest include but are not limited to epidemiology, clinical manifestations, pathogenesis, transmission, treatment and prevention of HIV infection, including prevention of mother to child transmission, and HIV-related complications in these populations. Additional areas of interest include:

· New technologies relevant to resource-limited countries for:

o diagnosis of HIV infection in infants;

o diagnosis and treatment of HIV-related complications of HIV (e.g., diagnosis of tuberculosis in children);

o simple and less technical assays to monitor CD4 cell percentage/count, HIV viral load, or other surrogate markers of disease progression in children.

· Drug formulations for antiretroviral drugs and/or drugs used to treat complications of HIV infection relevant to children (preferably not liquid preparations), particularly in resource-limited countries and including fixed dose drug formulations and innovative methodologies for development of solid formulations capable of being administered to young children (e.g., sustained release beads, etc).

· Simple, standardized tools to evaluate neurodevelopmental outcome in children in resource-limited settings.

· Topical microbicide agents to prevent sexual acquisition of HIV in women or in adolescents.

· New, non-invasive technologies to evaluate complications of antiretroviral drugs in HIV-infected infants, children, adolescents (e.g., mitochondrial toxicity) and pregnant women, their fetuses and children.

Dr. Kevin Ryan

301-435-6871, Fax: 301-496-8678


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