Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRC) are federally funded centers of excellence whose research aims to prevent and treat disabilities through biomedical and behavioral research. These centers contribute to the development and implementation of evidence-based practices by evaluating the effectiveness of biological, biochemical, and behavioral interventions; developing assistive technologies; and advancing prenatal diagnosis and newborn screening.

In 2021, Iowa became one of only 15 IDDRCs in the country as it established the Hawk-IDDRC, led by Drs. Lane Strathearn, MD PhD, and Ted Abel, PhD., who is the director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute. The Hawk-IDDRC fully integrates basic and clinical research across the lifespan -- from conception to adulthood -- that is tailored to an underserved rural population and focused on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and amelioration of intellectual and developmental disabilities. The research project collaboratively draws upon 4 Hawk-IDDRC Research Cores to examine the interaction of genetic/polygenic and epigenetic risk markers in autism and developmental delay, using an innovative smartphone research application called BabySteps, for direct family participation. 

The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) contributed to the development of, and application for, the grant, to bring this new research center to the University of Iowa. As previously noted, to have all three of these federally funded centers on one university campus -- UCEDD, LEND and IDDRC -- is both rare, and evidence of the important and supported work done at CDD.