Research News

  • IU Simon Cancer Center joins new National Clinical Trials Network

    The IU Simon Cancer Center has been selected as one of only 30 sites in the country to lead cancer clinical trials in a new national network.

    The National Cancer Institute designated the IU Simon Cancer Center as a Lead Academic Participating Site in its new National Clinical Trials Network. The network, which focuses on phase III clinical trials, is designed to improve the speed and efficiency of the design, launch and conduct of clinical trials; make optimal use of scientific innovations; improve selection, prioritization, support and completion of clinical trials; and foster expanded participation of both patients and physicians.

    Lead sites will provide scientific leadership in the development and conduct of clinical trials.

    The IU Simon Cancer Center was chosen as a lead site because of its demonstrated ability to enroll high numbers of patients onto trials as well as scientific leadership in the design and conduct of clinical trials. IU investigators have led trials that have defined the standard of care in many malignancies, including those of the testis, thymus, pancreas and breast.

    Three affiliates are part of the IU Simon Cancer Center lead site. They are the Richard A. Roudebush VA Medical Center, the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and the IU Health Central Indiana Cancer Centers. National Clinical Trial Network research at the affiliate sites is overseen and managed by the IU Simon Cancer Center, allowing patients full access to the network’s trials combined with the convenience and support that comes with receiving treatment locally.

    The National Clinical Trials Network is intended to improve treatment for the more than 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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  • IU researchers isolate inflammatory process that damages lungs of donors with traumatic brain injury

    IU research published Sept. 3 in Science Translational Medicine sheds light on the potentially lethal process by which outcomes for lung transplant recipients are negatively impacted by donors who experienced traumatic brain injury.

    An interdisciplinary team co-led by Fletcher A. White, Ph.D., the Vergil K. Stoelting Professor of Anesthesia, and David S. Wilkes, M.D., executive associate dean for research affairs and director of the Center for Immunobiology at the IU School of Medicinefound evidence of fluid accumulation in the lung within hours after head trauma. The fluid limits, which the ability of the lung to oxygenate the bloodstream, is particularly relevant in the case of a donor lungs, which may become unsuitable for transplantation. The IU researcher then aimed to determine how precisely brain injury is tied to this lung injury, and the pathway by which this inflammatory process becomes active in the lungs, with the most likely candidates narrowed down to the HMGB1-RAGE pathway. (A molecule named HMGB1 is released into the blood stream following head trauma.) The connection between higher HMGB1 levels in donors and poorer short-term outcomes in transplant recipients was confirmed based upon a biobank of lung transplant recipient and donor blood and tissue samples developed by Dr. Wilkes in collaboration with the IU Health Lung Transplant Program.

    The majority of lungs used in transplantation are procured from brain dead donors, of which between 40 and 70 percent have sustained traumatic brain injury. Moreover, only 15 to 20 percent of all lungs evaluated deemed appropriate for transplant. The researchers are optimistic that, by identifying a therapeutic target for the traumatic brain injury-induced lung impairment, the scarce donor pool of lungs may expand and recipient outcomes will improve.

    For more on the study, visit the IUSM Newsroom.

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  • IUSM grants and awards report -- July 2014

    IU School of Medicine researchers earned about $6.6 million in grants and awards -- excluding commercial projects -- in July 2014.

    Investigator Sponsor Type Project Title Begin Date End Date Awarded Dollars
    Mohamad Azhar, M.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New

    Cardiac cell lineage-specific function of TGFI2 in heart
    valve development

    01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Ashay D. Bhatwadekar, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New A study of Per2 dysregulation in diabetic retinopathy 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Janice S. Blum, Ph.D. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Renewal Immunology and infectious diseases 01-Aug-14 31-Jul-15 $283,790
    Michael E. Boulton, Ph.D. Research To Prevent Blindness New Unrestricted / Challenge grant 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $115,000
    Hal E. Broxmeyer, Ph.D. National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute Renewal Mechanisms of synergistic regulation of stem/progenitors 01-Jul-14 30-Apr-15 $390,000
    Rebecca J. Chan, M.D., Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New Showalter Scholar: Rebecca Chan 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $25,000
    Peng-Sheng Chen, M.D. American Heart Association-Greater Midwest Affiliate New Measuring sympathetic nerve activity with skin electrocardiogram electrodes 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $50,048
    Peter Chira, M.D. Rheumatology Research Foundation New Amgen Fellowship Training Award 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $30,000
    Ann H. Cottingham, MAR IU Health New Using Implementation science to strengthen the role of chaplains in IU Health Palliative Care and Hospice Teams to improve alignment of patient values with patient care 01-Jul-14 31-Mar-16 $85,454
    Stephanie D. Davis, M.D. Seattle Children's Research Institute New OPTIMIZE-IP-12 15-Sep-13 30-Jun-18 $59,306
    Alexander L. Dent, Ph.D. National Institute Allergy and Infectious Diseases New Follicular repressor T cells: regulation by Stat proteins and control of antibody responses 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $195,000
    Michael T. Eadon, M.D. PhRMA Foundation New Genetic susceptibility to nephrotoxicity. 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $120,000
    William A. Engle, M.D. Indiana State Department of Health New Placental transfusion in preterm infants born at less than 34 weeks of gestation: role of delayed cord clamping and umbilical cord milking 01-Apr-14 30-Sep-15 $39,697
    Tatiana M. Foroud, Ph.D. San Diego State University Research Foundation New 3D Facial Imaging in FASD: Developmental Project 01-Jun-14 31-May-15 $128,694
    Tatiana M. Foroud, Ph.D. Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinsons Research New The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $233,334
    Sujuan Gao, Ph.D. National Institute on Aging New Longitudinal interactive vascular exposure and Alzheimer's Disease 01-Jul-14 31-Mar-15 $311,666
    Bernardino Ghetti, M.D. National Institute on Aging New Ninth International Conference on Frontotemporal Dementias 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $50,000
    Stacey D. Gilk, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New "Manipulation of the endoplasmic reticulum by the bacterialpathogen Coxiella burnetii" 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Richard B. Gunderman, M.D., Ph.D. Association of University Radiologists New Thick descriptions of excellence in radiological professionalism 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $31,789
    Bryan E. Hainline, M.D., Ph.D. Indiana State Department of Health Renewal Indiana State Board of Health: ISDH/CSHN 200-41/#130 Genetic Services at Indiana University 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $231,643
    Debra Hickman, DVM NIH Office of the Director New Purchase ventilated caging systems to expand mouse housing capacity 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $500,000
    Debra Hickman, DVM American College of Lab Animal Medicine Foundation New Carbon dioxide euthanasia in rats: evaluation of animal well-being at varying displacement rates 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $22,067
    Travis J. Jerde, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New Targeting Redox Factor-1 in drug-resistant prostate cancer 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Raymond M. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D. National Institute Allergy and Infectious Diseases New Role of Plac8 in natural and vaccine-generated immunity against Chlamydia infections 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $355,399
    Steven M. Johnson, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New Developing HSP60/10 chaperonin inhibitors for breast and colon cancer chemotherapy 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Melissa Ann Kacena, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New Showalter Scholar: Melissa Kacena 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $25,000
    Mark R. Kelley, Ph.D. Riley Children's Foundation Renewal Betty and Earl Herr Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $93,555
    Jeffrey A. Kline, M.D. American Heart Association-Greater Midwest Affiliate New Exercise and matrix metalloproteinase interdependence after pulmonary embolism 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $43,976
    Michael J. Lannoo, Ph.D. Indiana Department of Natural Resources New Determining survivorship in wild-bred, captive-raised crawfish frogs 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-16 $203,398
    Tao Lu, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New PRMT5: a novel therapeutic target in colon cancer 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Daniel T. McKenna, M.D. Foundation for Surgical Fellowships New Foundation for Surgical Fellowship Award 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $42,500
    Raghu G. Mirmira, M.D., Ph.D. American Physiological Society New Regulation of islet beta cell inflammation by the DHS/eIF5A pathway 01-Sep-14 31-Aug-15 $28,300
    Amber L. Mosley, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New Quantitative analysis of transcription elongation protein-protein interaction networks 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Grant D. Nicol, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust Renewal The role of sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors in neuronal sensitization 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Sophie Paczesny, M.D., Ph.D. Leukemia And Lymphoma Society New Translating novel drug-targetable biomarkers to treat graft-versus-host disease 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $110,000
    David A. Plager, M.D. Riley Children's Foundation Renewal Pediatric Ophthalmology Research 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $21,202
    Martin H. Plawecki, M.D., Ph.D. Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation New Alcohol exposure rate control 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $75,000
    Lyne Racette, Ph.D. Brightfocus Foundation New An individualized model to monitor glaucoma progression 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $50,000
    Chad V. Ruffin, M.D. American Academy Of Otolaryngology New The perception of indexical cues as a task secondary to speech perception 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $9,948
    Ravi P. Sahu, Ph.D. National Institute Of Environmental Hlth Sciences New Environmental pro-oxidative stressor and immunosuppression 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $162,517
    C. Henrique Serezani, Ph.D. National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute New Phosphatase and tensin homolog PTEN actions in polymicrobial sepsis 15-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $390,000
    Anna Maria V. Storniolo, M.D. Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Renewal The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center 01-Jun-13 31-May-15 $600,000
    William J. Sullivan, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New Showalter Scholar: William Sullivan 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $25,000
    Jie Sun, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New "Increasing host resistance to influenza virus infection by >targeting Bcl6" 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D. National Institute Of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Renewal Regulating SNARE mechanisms to remediate glucose homeostasis 07-Jul-14 31-May-15 $336,209
    Alexia M. Torke, M.D. The Greenwall Foundation New What do surrogate decision makers mean by goals of care for seriously ill older adults? 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-16 $111,606
    Matthew J. Turner, M.D., Ph.D. Dermatology Foundation Renewal Inductive keratinocyte-derived cytokines in a murine model of atopic dermatitis 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $55,000
    Jingyun Wang, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New "Does prompt feedback from the Smart Eye Patch(TM) enhance compliance with amblyopia treatment?" 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Ronald C. Wek, Ph.D. Grace M. Showalter Trust New "Translation and stress regulatory pathways in health and disease" 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $60,000
    Xiao-Ming Xu, M.D., Ph.D. Virginia Commonwealth University New Tissue engineering for remyelination after spinal cord injury 02-Dec-13 29-Oct-14 $171,390
    Zao Cheng Xu, M.D., Ph.D. American Heart Assoc-greater Midwest Affiliate New PKC regulation of potassium current after ischemia 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $71,500
    Shuyu Yao, Ph.D. American Lung Association New Regulation of pulmonary inflammation during respiratory syncytial virus infection 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $32,500
    Mervin C. Yoder, M.D. Riley Children's Foundation Renewal Simmons Clinical Studies 01-Jul-14 30-Jun-15 $40,000

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Faculty and Staff News

  • Debra Wood honored with named scholarship as first winner of lab researcher award

    Debra Wood, assistant professor of clinical pathology and laboratory medicine at the IU School of Medicine, has been named the first recipient of the urEssential Award from Cardinal Health.

    The award is designed to recognize the contributions that laboratorians make every day to provide care for patients. In her role as program director for the Histotechnology Distance Learning Program, Wood is dedicated to developing the skills and knowledge of a profession that has one of the highest vacancy rates in the field.

    In addition, Wood has worked with nearly 400 laboratories/facilities to train students and to better understand guidelines. She serves on the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, volunteering as a member of the Review Committee for Accredited Programs, site visitor and paper reviewer for programs going through the accreditation process as well as formulating and making approval recommendations. In 2012, she served on the Standards Review Task Force and was appointed as a Discipline Lead Person to provide interpretation of the standards to program officials.

    As chair for the American Society for Pathologist Histotechnology HT/HTL Exam Committee, Wood keeps committee members aware of trends relevant to the field of histotechnology. She also works to ensure that committee members have diverse backgrounds by recruiting professionals from the clinical laboratory, veterinary and research industry.

    The Cardinal Health urEssential Award provides support to students pursuing careers in laboratory medicine, with a $20,000 scholarship in Wood's name to be provided to the institute of her choice.

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Student Showcase

  • Student Research Program in Academic Medicine poster session

    Student Research Program in Academic Medicine participants will present their research at a poster session from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, in the VanNuys Medical Science Building atrium.

    SRPinAM students spent 12 weeks each summer under the mentorship of IU School of Medicine researchers on their own research projects. They also attended weekly seminars to learn more about the process of considering research as a future endeavor. All SRPinAM students are second-year medical students. The director of the program is Nadia Carlesso, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics and of medical and molecular genetics.

    Prior to the poster session, SRPinAM named eight students scholarship recipients based on oral presentations delivered July 31 and Aug. 1 in the VanNuys Medical Science Building atrium. Chen Mu, a second-year medical student, received first place with a scholarship of $13,000. Mu's research mentor was Yan Liu, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics. Additional awards ranged from $5,000 to $1,000. Additional scholarship winners' names are online.

    For more information on the program, visit the Office of Medical Student Affairs' website.

    If you have questions, contact Jose Espada at

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News to Use

  • Reminder: InScope launches 'mobile-first' redesign

    This week marks the first issue of the redesigned InScope, the official weekly internal newsletter for faculty, staff, residents, fellows and students at the IU School of Medicine

    The new format, which was undertaken in collaboration with the IU School of Medicine Faculty Steering Committee and based upon feedback from a communications survey in March 2013, features a streamlined, "mobile-first" responsive to viewing device. The layout has also been optimized for easy viewing and at-a-glance information with a single page design that addresses the "on-the-go" work environment of many faculty, staff and students at the IU School of Medicine.

    All major categories are viewable beneath large text headlines that directly link to additional information on a single, scrollable webpage. Event items go to the IUSM Calendar, which also features additional activities beyond those found in the weekly email.

    The design and technical implementation were provided by IU Communications. For more information, see the complete announcement from the Aug. 28 issue of InScope.

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  • Indiana Biobank biospecimen storage for pilot studies -- Request for applications

    The Indiana Biobank requests applications from researchers who wish to store biospecimens in support of pilot or feasibility studies.

    The Indiana Biobank is a statewide resource of human biological specimens that are linked to electronic medical records whose mission is to create a collection of well characterized specimens that can serve as a research resource to enhance translational research.

    This RFA seeks to expand the custom collections available through the Indiana Biobank. Applicants can request samples be collected from up to 20 individuals. The types of samples that may be collected include: blood (for RNA, plasma, serum or DNA), saliva, or urine. Applicants must provide an approved specimen collection protocol or must work with Indiana Biobank staff to develop a collection protocol that satisfies criteria established by the biobank.

    The Indiana Biobank currently contains samples from over 15,000 individuals, all of which are linked (with informed consent) thorough the medical record number to the Indiana Network for Patient Care. The biobank has the capacity to collect specific specimens (e.g., plasma, serum, urine) to meet an investigator’s research needs. With informed consent, biobank specimens can be used for broad, unspecified future research.

    Three applications will be funded for up to $5,000 each. Applications are due 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15.

    To apply, visit the Indiana CTSI grants portal and enter your institutional username and password. Applications instructions are located under "Pilot Funding for Custom Biospecimen Collection Using INDIANA BIOBANK (IB) Infrastructure - 2014.09."

    If you have questions on the appropriate scope of proposals, contact Tatiana Foroud, M.D., at, or Brooke Patz at If you have questions on grant submissions or budgeting, contact Anne Nguyen at 317-278-2874 or Direct all other questions to or 317-278-CTSI (2874).

    The Indiana Biobanks was established in 2010 with initial support from the Lilly Endowment. Additional support is provided by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, one of more than 60 institutes supported by National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing translational Sciences.

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  • Poster abstracts sought for Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Sixth Annual Meeting

    Poster abstracts are sought for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Sixth Annual Meeting, "From Academic Centers to Population Health," from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at the Hine Hall Auditorium on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis.

    To submit an abstract for the scientific poster session, please fill out a submission form by Monday, Sept. 15. All relevant posters will be accepted up to the maximum capacity and should be no larger than 4-feet-by-4-feet. There will be awards for best poster presentations.

    The keynote speaker for the Sixth Annual Indiana CTSI Meeting will be David Hickam, M.D., MPH, director of the Clinical Effectiveness Research Program at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, who will present "Vision of PCORI for Patient Engagement, Pragmatic Clinical Trials and Medical Informatics." Dr. Hickam is responsible for the development of PCORI's research program, which evaluates comparisons among alternative clinical strategies in a broad range of clinical domains. He is also the founding director of the John M. Eisenberg Clinical Decisions and Communications Science Center, supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which develops innovative approaches for the use evidence-based information to help people participate in decision making about their health care.

    Additional speakers included Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., MHSA, dean of the IU School of Medicine and vice president for university clinical affairs at IU; and Paul K. Halverson, Dr.Ph., dean of the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, Ph.D., will deliver the welcome.

    A complete agenda is online. To RSVP, visit the registration page. Anyone from the Indiana CTSI members institutions of IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame are welcome to attend. This is a free event. Lunch will be provided. 

     If you have questions, contact

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  • IU Center of Excellence in Molecular Hematology Pilot and Feasibility program grant

    The IU Center of Excellence in Molecular Hematology announces the availability of a new round of funding opportunity through the Pilot and Feasibility program of the Center.

    Applications should focus on the molecular and cellular biology of normal murine and human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell regulation and the hematopoietic parameters impacting the efficient use of these cells in clinical transplantation and in cellular and gene therapy. Applications will be reviewed by an internal review committee and rankings will be completed based on significance, innovation, approach, feasibility, and the prospect of obtaining extramural funding for the proposed project. Applications focused on malignant hematopoiesis will be removed from the review.

    IU faculty at the rank of assistant or associate professor or an equivalent research rank are eligible. Investigators with outside funding can apply provided there is no overlap between their funded research and the proposal submitted for this mechanism. Previous recipients of Center of Excellence in Molecular Hematology Pilot and Feasibility program grants in the last cycle of funding are not eligible. 

    Funding for a maximum of $12,500 should be requested for supplies and fees. For more information on eligibility and application requirements, please download the complete application guidelines. Applications are due 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26.

    Submit your application documents electronically (as single pdf containing all the required forms) to Edward F. Srour, Ph.D., at and April D. Maines at

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  • Fall 2014 Core Pilot Grants -- Request for applications

    The Indiana CTSI Fall 2014 Core Pilot Grants seeks applications from researchers who wish to use technologies and expertise afforded by the Indiana CTSI core facilities at IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame.

    The program aims to promote the use of technologies and expertise afforded by the CTSI Core Facilities. Examples of eligible projects include obtaining critical preliminary data for a grant application (either new award or competing renewal), obtaining a critical reagent or resource for new studies (e.g.: a new transgenic or knockout mouse model) or pilot experiments to test a new idea or establish a new line of research.

    Successful proposals will demonstrate outstanding scientific merit that can be linked to generating extramural funding or novel intellectual property. Success of the program will be viewed, in part, by the fostering of new funded grants or providing significant contributions to grant renewals. Proposals will be judged with equal measure on scientific merit and the likelihood of generating new intellectual property or extramural grant support.

    Applications to this program are expected to have a maximum requested amount of $10,000; projects typically are one to two years in duration.

    Funding is for utilization of designated Indiana CTSI core facilities only. The Indiana CTSI website includes descriptions of all available cores at IU, Purdue and Notre Dame. The Indiana CTSI seal denotes cores eligible under this program.

    The application deadline is 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29.

    Faculty from IU, Purdue and Notre Dame are eligible to apply. For university- and campus-specific eligibility guidelines, or to apply, visit the Indiana CTSI grants portal and enter your institutional username and password. Applications instructions are located under "Pilot Funding for Research Use of Core Facilities - 2014.09."

    For more information, email Anne Nguyen at 317-278-2874 or

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  • Emeritus professor authors new book

    Roland (Rolly) B. McGrath, M.D., professor emeritus of emergency medicine and medicine, is the author of a new book, "Rain Boy," released on Aug. 12.

    The book, published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC, is a collection of conversations and interactions with the author's 27-year-old Autistic son. It contains short anecdotes highlighting the author's  son’s disabilities, challenges, savantism and more in personal conversations and e-mail with his siblings and selected close friends. These scenarios highlight some of the characteristics of autism while unveiling the raw charm, gentility, humor and sadness that can surround those with such disabilities.

    "The intent of my effort was to share an experience with either of two audiences: those who work with, live with and otherwise care about people with challenges because they would recognize and most appreciate and identify with the scenarios revealed, and the general public, for whom this immersion may be important to prepare for the inevitable contact with those with challenges," Dr. McGrath said.

    Based upon data solicited between 2006 and 2008, the Centers for Disease Control has reported that the prevalence of developmental disorders among U.S. children was 1 in 6, and Autism Spectrum Disorder 1 in 88.

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