Rose F. Kennedy Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center


The Rose F. Kennedy Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (RFK IDDRC) and its programs represent the hub of Einstein’s research labs and patient clinics focused on intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). Founded more than 40 years ago, the RFK IDDRC has long been at the forefront of research on normal and abnormal brain development and function, and of clinical care for children with IDDs. Today, with reinvigorated leadership, the RFK IDDRC is dissolving barriers between neuroscience and genetic research; fostering new and productive collaborations between basic scientists and clinicians; and advancing knowledge about and treatments for IDDs impacting children.

With access to state-of-the-art equipment and techniques, RFK IDDRC scientists are leading the way in research on autism, Rett, Fragile X, Niemann-Pick C and other genetic and neurometabolic disorders, on seizure disorders, on deafness and communication disorders and on understanding the impact of the environment and nutrition on brain development and maturation. Bridges built between RFK IDDRC investigators and clinicians also are allowing advancement of translational studies designed to bring bench research discoveries to the bedside as new and innovative therapies.

Einstein's Kennedy Center is also one of the oldest designated University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Research, Education and Service (UCEDD) funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. Significantly, the Kennedy IDDRC also has intimate links to the UCEDD's clinical arm, Einstein's Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC), which provides clinicians and investigators the challenge and opportunity to work with large numbers of IDD-related conditions in the genetically diverse and socioeconomically compromised population of the Bronx. The UCEDD is also home to the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program, one of only 38 in the United States, which supports interdisciplinary clinical training for medical and allied health professionals who care for individuals with special healthcare needs. The Rose F. Kennedy Center is one of only a handful of centers in the nation with connections to all three of these important programs.

Learn more about CERC and the RFK IDDRC program. 



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Research Round-Up

Elective ServiceDr. Susan Band Horwitz was elected to serve as one of the members of the AACR Nominating Committee for the 2012 to 2014 term. Founded in 1907, the AACR (American Association for Cancer Research), is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. Its membership includes 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. Dr. Horwitz is distinguished university professor and co-chair of molecular pharmacology at Einstein, as well as associate director for therapeutics for the Albert Einstein Cancer Center and the Rose C. Falkenstein Professor of Cancer Research. She also is an AACR past president and currently serves as a member on the Council of Scientific Advisors.

Good Reading Dr. U. Thomas Meier was awarded a $1.2 million grant over four years by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study how cells assemble small nucleolar RNA-protein complexes that function in the modification of ribosomal and other RNAs, thereby fine-tuning protein synthesis and pre-messenger RNA processing.  Dr. Meier’s laboratory will use novel approaches to shed light on these basic cellular processes, thus providing the foundation for understanding what goes wrong in certain genetic diseases and cancers.  Dr. Meier is professor of anatomy and structural biology.

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A Message From the Director

Dr Steven Walkley

Steven U. Walkley, D.V.M., Ph.D.

While the Rose F. Kennedy Center has a 40-year history as an NIH-sponsored Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, it is now experiencing a veritable renaissance in its programs and outreach to scientists and clinicians at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and its affiliated hospitals. read more... 

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In the Media

The Wall Street Journal highlights groundbreaking research by Dr. Steven Walkley that has led to treatment options for the rare condition Niemann-Pick Type C. (Thursday, Nov 14, 2013)

Dr. Michael Lipton explains on NBC Nightly News the concern that “heading” in soccer may increase long-term risk for degenerative brain disease. (Monday, Mar 04, 2013)

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