Iowa's new Hawkeye Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, or Hawk-IDDRC.

Children with intellectual disabilities may develop differently than their typically developing peers. A developmental delay occurs when a child doesn’t meet a development milestone within the expected average time range. Some common causes of intellectual disability include genetic disorders including Down syndrome, cerebral malformations, exposure to infections or toxins during pregnancy, and some metabolic diseases.

At the University of Iowa, scientists and physicians work together to study all aspects of healthy brain development and behavior, and to learn more about how intellectual disabilities impact the brain’s function and growth. The research teams believe that a better understanding will lead to improved treatments in the short term and, one day, preventive care that might curb the effects of these disabilities and the disorders that cause them.

The University of Iowa Stead Family Department of Pediatrics has received funding through the National Institutes of Health to create an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC). Led by co-directors Dr Lane Strathearn, MD, PhD, physician director of Center for Disabilities and Development and professor of pediatrics, and Dr Ted Abel, PhD, director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute, and professor and DEO of neuroscience and pharmacology in the UI Carver College of Medicine, the Center supports five scientific core resources used by more than 90 NIH funded investigators studying neurodevelopment, brain function and behavior. The Hawk-IDDRC is one of 15 nationally recognized centers, which study developmental disabilities and related disorders.