As part of its mission to promote collaborative research in the causes, prevention and treatment of mental retardation and developmental abnormalities, the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center provides rigorous training to young researchers, clinicians and students through programs tailored to each individual’s interests. For example, the center’s Growth, Development and Disabilities Training Program — supported by the National Institutes of Health for more than 50 years — annually trains 12 University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine students who are also pursuing a PhD degree.
The Kennedy Center’s longstanding research project, with director Nancy B. Schwartz, PhD, as principal investigator, is helping to define the principles governing normal nervous system developmental processes that may lead to brain dysfunction and intellectual disabilities. Other research focuses mainly on studies of mechanisms of neurodegeneration, skeletal dysplasias and signaling pathways that affect migration and differentiation.