Genetics and Developmental Disabilities Research Lab

UofA 470x275
University of Arizona's AzUCD and AzLEND

At the University of Arizona Program Site, investigators have conducted research in genetic and developmental disabilities for over 15 years.  In this lab, researchers are engaged in public health surveillance activities for disorders including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and muscular dystrophies.  Each of these activities has been carried out cooperatively with multiple surveillance sites and with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In addition, the University of Arizona Program Site conducts social behavioral research related to spina bifida, Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, and autism spectrum disorders.

Current Studies / Projects

Arizona Muscular Dystrophy Surveillance and Research Project (AMDSRP) (08/29/2014; 1U01DD000830)
AMDSRP conducts population-based surveillance for 9 different muscular dystrophies statewide through retrospective clinic chart review.  In addition, the project is collecting prospective data through the administration of surveys for individuals with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy and their families.
Arizona Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (ADDSP) (05/31/2014; 5UR3DD000680)
ADDSP conducts population-based surveillance for autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities for children who are either 8- or 4-years of age during the study collection year in select school districts in Maricopa County.
Arizona Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Surveillance Network (FASSNet-AZ)( 09/29/2014; 5U50DD000557)
FASSNet-AZ conducts population-based surveillance for fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects statewide through retrospective clinic chart review.
Arizona Surveillance and Research Center for Developmental Disabilities (ASRCDD) (09/29/2013; 5U01DD000691)
The ASRCDD is a research pilot assessing the feasibility for conducting population-based longitudinal studies on individuals with spina bifida.  The study collects restrospective medical records data in addition to neuropsychological testing results for the child as well as parent perceptions of ability, family function, and other social or household information.
iPad Use in Families with Autism (UAMC Foundation)
The iPad study is assessing the actual use of iPads in the home for families of children with autism through usage reports of both the child and the caregiver.
Spina Bifida Pre-Post Folate Population Comparison (Not Funded)
This study is comparing various physical characteristics of children born with spina bifida before and after the mandated folic acid supplementation of grains in the US for all children receiving services from the CRS clinics in Tucson.
Rural Health Network Training and Monitoring for Developmental Screening (AZ LEND)
The University of Arizona LEND trainees are participating in a research project focused on increasing the systematic developmental screening in early childhood, consistent with AAP surveillance and screening guidelines.  The project will implement a general pediatric screening tool at 9, 18, 24 months and an autism-specific screening tool at 18 and 24 months.

Select Publications

Rice C, Nicholas J, Baio J, Pettygrove S, Lee LC, Van Naarden Braun K, Doernberg N, Cunniff C, Newschaffer C, Meaney FJ, Charles J, Washington A, King. (2010). Changes in autism spectrum disorder prevalence in 4 areas of the United States. Disabil Health J, 3(3), 186-201.

Pedersen A, Pettygrove S, Meaney FJ, Mancilla K, Gotschall K, Kessler DB, Grebe TA, Cunniff C. (2012) Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in Hispanic and Non-Hispanic white children. Pediatrics, 129(3), e629-e635.

Holtzer C, Meaney FJ, Andrews J, Ciafaloni E, Fox DJ, James KA, Lu Z, MillerLA, Pandya S, Ouyang L, Cunniff C. (2011) Disparities in the diagnostic process of Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy. Genetics in Medicine, 13(11), 942-947

Matthews DJ, James KA, Miller LA, Pandya S, Campbell KA, Ciafaloni E, Mathews KD, Miller TM, Cunniff C, MeaneyFJ, Druschel CM, Romitti PA, Fox DJ. (2010). Use of corticosteroids in a population-based cohort of boys with duchenne and becker muscular dystrophy. J Child Neurol, 25(11), 1319-24.