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Jen Humphrey
Life Span Institute
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KU Life Span Institute to host conference on developmental and intellectual disabilities

Wed, 03/31/2021

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Life Span Institute is partnering with the Baylor College of Medicine to host the 54th annual Gatlinburg Conference on Research and Theory in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from April 5 to April 8.

First launched in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in 1967, the Gatlinburg Conference will bring together a diverse group of more than 450 national and international behavioral researchers and scientists to discuss research and collaborations in their field.

This year, the conference will be hosted entirely online. For undergraduate and graduate students, and for postdoctoral fellows, registration is free. The cost is $100 for professionals, including investigators, tenure-track or research faculty, and clinicians. Registration closes at midnight Thursday, April 1.

With a theme of “Intervention and Clinical Treatments for Intellectual Disabilities,” the conference includes two pre-conference workshops, 21 symposia, 136 poster presentations, graduate student symposia and a presentation on federal funding offered by staff from the National Institutes of Health.

“The KU Life Span Institute is very excited to co-host the Gatlinburg conference this year with the Baylor College of Medicine,” said John Colombo, Life Span Institute director and interim dean of the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “This is a longstanding and beloved conference for behavioral scientists in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, and we were faced with the challenge of bringing this meeting online for the first time in 54 years. We worked to keep registration costs low and are thrilled that more scientists and trainees have registered than in any previous year.” 

Highlights of the conference:

  • “Successes and Challenges in Treating Severe Communication Disorders,” by Nancy Brady, professor and chair, KU Speech-Language-Hearing Department, and scientist at the Life Span Institute. 
  • “Fragile X Syndrome: Supportive Treatment, Unmet Needs, and Paths to Novel Interventions and Disease-Targeted Therapies,” by Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, professor of neurology and pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center. 
  • “Road to Therapeutics from A to Z: Lessons Learned from Chromosome 15,” by Jessica Duis, assistant professor, Pediatrics-Clinical Genetics and Metabolism at the University of Colorado.
  • “Science Communications and the Importance of Talking to Non-Scientists,” by Maggie Koerth, an award-winning science journalist and a senior science writer at FiveThirtyEight.
  • “Effective Data Visualization,” by Neda Sadeghi, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health.

The KU Life Span Institute brings together scientists and students at the intersections of education, behavioral science and neuroscience to study problems that directly affect the health and well-being of individuals and communities in Kansas, as well as across the nation and world.



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