Vanderbilt Kennedy Center News and Videos Monday, June 26, 2017

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The eighth annual ACM Lifting Lives® Music Camp is in session this week in Nashville with campers from around the country participating in a week of activities and excursions around Music City.

ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp 2017 kicks off

Last Updated: 6/26/2017 1:55:23 PM


Vanderbilt University’s Office of the Provost has recognized 13 faculty proposals with Discovery Grants, one of Vanderbilt’s primary means of investing in advancing the discovery of knowledge in its core disciplines and strengthening the university’s scholarly profile.

13 faculty proposals earn Discovery Grants

Last Updated: 6/22/2017 8:52:02 AM




Graduate student Mark Crowder, right, presents the Teacher of the Year Award to Ronald Emeson, Ph.D., at last week’s 26th annual Joel G. Hardman Student-Invited Pharmacology Forum. Emeson is now a three-time winner of the award; he previously received it in 2003 and in 1995, the first year it was awarded.

Pharmacology top teacher

Last Updated: 6/16/2017 9:22:17 AM


New News Item

Tom Cheetham, M.D., honored with AADMD Award

Last Updated: 6/14/2017 10:19:20 AM



Summer is an ideal time to make plans to take part in Fall training opportunities that will enhance your knowledge of disability-related topics and issues. Training will be offered by the Volunteer Advocacy Project and by Tennessee Disability Pathfinder.

Plan now for Fall training

Last Updated: 6/13/2017 3:20:33 PM












Thirty-two retiring faculty members were recognized during Vanderbilt’s Commencement ceremony May 12, when the university honored their years of service and bestowed on them the title of emeritus or emerita faculty

Vanderbilt University honors 32 as emeriti faculty

Last Updated: 5/15/2017 1:36:25 PM




I count myself very fortunate to have been able to attend the annual Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C., again this year, March 20-22, and to make visits to our Tennessee Congressional Delegation on Capitol Hill. As we chanted at the Seminar: “This is what democracy looks like.”

Making our voices heard in our nation’s capitol

Last Updated: 5/3/2017 8:48:20 AM



Mood and anxiety disorders are on the rise, and effective new treatments are critically needed.

Regulating anxiety in the brain

Last Updated: 5/1/2017 10:10:26 AM















Since January, the VKC has provided training on legislative advocacy, facilitated the sharing of personal stories with Tennessee legislators and policymakers, and used social media to broaden access to Disability Day on the Hill.

Educating for public policy advocacy

Last Updated: 3/3/2017 11:55:17 AM



Innovation characterizes the Shirley F. and Stuart W. Speyer Discovery Grant and the two Nicholas Hobbs Discovery Grants awarded for 2017, which were announced by Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) director and Annette Schaffer Eskind Chair.

2017 VKC Discovery Grants announced

Last Updated: 3/3/2017 11:51:59 AM


Women who have had repeated depressive episodes tend to pay more attention to negative emotional information than those who have not experienced major depression. When shown negative images during a brain scan, the emotional centers of these women’s brains also “light up” to a greater extent.

Clues found to recurrent depression

Last Updated: 3/3/2017 10:49:07 AM






There is a strong, bi-directional link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Fiona Harrison, Ph.D., and colleagues tested whether the effects of obesity on diabetic status and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease are permanent or reversible.

Dementia linked to diet

Last Updated: 2/7/2017 1:25:37 PM


<p>(January - June at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center)</p> <p>The exhibit <em>Breaking Ground at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center</em> showcases original work, reproductions of art, and poetry by and about Tennesseans with disabilities that are featured in the annual arts issue of Breaking Ground, the magazine of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.</p>

Breaking Ground at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Last Updated: 2/6/2017 11:24:19 AM



Researchers at Vanderbilt have identified what may be a genetic “smoking gun” for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — a mutation in the gene for the critical neuronal protein CaMKII.

Gene mutation discovery may hold autism clues

Last Updated: 2/2/2017 3:22:40 PM



Educate to Advocate 2017

Last Updated: 1/26/2017 9:55:44 AM



The duration of exposure to daylight, or the “photoperiod,” may affect development of seasonal affective disorder by programming serotonin neurons in the brain, according to Vanderbilt University researchers.

Amount of daylight may impact serotonin programming

Last Updated: 1/20/2017 2:24:01 PM


Edward "Warren" Lambert, Ph.D., age 71, passed away on January 13, 2017. Warren was long-time statistical consultant at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) where he assisted countless VKC researchers and their graduate students and research assistants with complex quantitative issues.

Remembering Warren Lambert, statistician and friend

Last Updated: 1/20/2017 11:49:38 AM


Cognitive and attention deficits observed in children following surgery before age 5 to repair congenital heart defects likely will persist into their teens and young adulthood, Lori Jordan, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues report.

A heart-brain connection

Last Updated: 1/19/2017 1:41:44 PM















Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) are one step closer to understanding what causes early-onset epileptic encephalopathy, a rare form of childhood epilepsy that is difficult to treat and has poor developmental outcomes.

New clues emerge in rare form of childhood epilepsy

Last Updated: 12/16/2016 1:42:38 PM


Colleagues of Vivien Casagrande, Ph.D., celebrated her distinguished career in the visual sciences with a “Lifetime of Vision” symposium* on Nov. 18.

Symposium honors Casagrande’s career

Last Updated: 12/8/2016 2:15:45 PM


A new longitudinal study conducted by Vanderbilt has found that children’s math knowledge in preschool is related to their later achievement—but not all types of math knowledge were related equally.

Early math knowledge related to later achievement

Last Updated: 12/8/2016 8:20:03 AM



Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) faculty, staff, and trainees participated in the 2016 Conference and Annual Meeting of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) held December 4-7 in Washington, D.C. The theme for this year’s conference was Navigating Change and Building Our Future Together.

VKC at the 2016 AUCD Conference

Last Updated: 12/7/2016 9:04:13 AM




Nine Vanderbilt University faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this year.

Nine Vanderbilt faculty members elected AAAS fellows

Last Updated: 11/28/2016 3:57:09 PM



GABA-A receptors bind gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain, and are composed of five subunits. Mutations in GABRG2, the gene that encodes the gamma2 subunit, have been associated with epilepsy and febrile seizures of differing severities. Some of these mutations result in a truncated or shortened form of the gamma2 subunit, but how these mutations affect protein structure and function is not well understood.

Protein structure and epilepsy severity

Last Updated: 11/22/2016 12:08:00 PM







For Erin Barton, child’s play is serious business.

Taking playtime seriously

Last Updated: 11/8/2016 8:39:42 AM







GABA-A receptors – ion channel receptors composed of five protein subunits – maintain inhibitory tone in the brain, and mutations in single subunit genes (GABRs) are associated with inherited forms of epilepsy. Many variations have been identified in GABRs, but molecular characterization of their contribution as susceptibility alleles for sporadic genetic epilepsies is missing.

Culprits in genetic epilepsies

Last Updated: 10/14/2016 10:36:56 AM


In what could be a way to predict which children might be vulnerable to anxiety disorders, a Vanderbilt study has shown that an altered prefrontal cortex function in the brain marks a heightened anxiety risk in children.

Study may help predict anxiety risk in children

Last Updated: 10/14/2016 10:33:27 AM



The extraordinary academic achievements of nine Vanderbilt University faculty members who hold endowed chairs were recognized during a celebration Sept. 26 at the Student Life Center.

Celebration honors nine endowed chair recipients

Last Updated: 9/29/2016 2:27:53 PM





<p>Read how gifts from Jackson have helped struggling readers by providing scholarships for Vanderbilt Reading Clinic and have supported TRIAD’s Community Engagement partnerships with cultural organizations to welcome participation of families whose children have autism or other developmental disabilities. </p>

Building Promising Futures for All

Last Updated: 9/16/2016 10:24:53 AM


<p>Read how multi-year gifts from the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives charitable arm have affected not only the lives of persons with Williams syndrome but so many others.</p>

The Gift of Pure Joy & a Grateful Heart

Last Updated: 9/16/2016 10:03:43 AM



<p>( October - December at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center)</p><p>Sponsored by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, this free annual exhibit features works of art by artists with a wide range of abilities/disabilities and ages.</p><p><a href="http://www.tpac.org/visiting/directions.asp">Tennessee Performing Arts Center Lobby</a>, 505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN; call (615) 782-4000 for hours</p>

Creative Expressions XXII

Last Updated: 9/12/2016 2:26:27 PM










Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disease characterized by intellectual deficits, compulsivity, hyperphagia, obesity, growth hormone deficiencies and short stature.

Growth hormone for Prader-Willi

Last Updated: 8/26/2016 9:08:57 AM











Tyler Reimschisel, M.D., director of the Division of Developmental Medicine and the Center for Child Development, has been selected for the 2016 Class of Macy Faculty Scholars.

Reimschisel selected as a Macy Faculty Scholar

Last Updated: 7/25/2016 3:46:57 PM












The students of Next Steps at Vanderbilt received the Perry Wallace Courage Award presented by Vanderbilt Athletics to a group or individual on campus exemplifying the courage and fortitude of Perry Wallace, the first black scholarship athlete in the SEC.

Next Steps students celebrate courage and dreams

Last Updated: 7/7/2016 8:19:02 AM











VKC TRIAD enhanced and widened the reach of its programming in 2015 and shows no sign of slowing in 2016. From partnerships with the TN Department of Education to the design of innovative telemedicine models of service delivery, TRIAD continues to make a profound impact on improving access to autism services in TN.

A growth spurt for TRIAD

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 4:10:23 PM




Two new diversity and equity efforts are underway through the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s LEND and UCEDD programs.

Addressing diversity and equity

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 3:57:06 PM







Two artists who have exhibited work at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center took part in an arts mentoring program with local artist and curator Lain York to prepare for their Fall 2015 solo exhibits.

Artists take part in VKC mentoring program

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 3:46:58 PM













Researchers collected supplemental alternate assessment data on 7,440 students with intellectual disabilities to measure reading performance, to identify variables associated with differences in performance, and to explore the potential utility of the alternate assessment to guide improvements in reading instruction.

Examining reading skills of students with ID

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 2:18:06 PM


Innovation and an interest in “big data” characterize the three Nicholas Hobbs Discovery Grants awarded for 2015-16, which were announced by Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) director and Annette Schaffer Eskind Chair.

2015 Hobbs Discovery Grants announced

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 2:16:25 PM


The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) has awarded a 5-year, $10-million training grant to Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), continuing a 16-year partnership to provide education and training opportunities for school personnel throughout the state.

Autism training for TN educators expands

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 2:14:37 PM


Every time you make a memory, somewhere in your brain a tiny filament reaches out from one neuron and forms an electrochemical connection to a neighboring neuron. VKC investigator Donna Webb heads a team of biologists who study how these connections are formed at the molecular and cellular level.

New insight into how the brain makes memories

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 2:13:12 PM







Vanderbilt Kennedy Center researchers are adapting a parent advocacy curriculum to improve transition from high school for youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as they pursue postsecondary education and/or employment.

Improving transition for youth with autism

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 12:50:45 PM








A child’s ability to distinguish musical rhythm is related to his or her capacity for understanding grammar, according to a recent study by Reyna Gordon, Ph.D., a research fellow in the Department of Otolaryngology and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

Researchers explore links between grammar, rhythm

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 12:42:27 PM


In June 2013, Governor Bill Haslam signed Executive Order No. 28 establishing state support for the Employment First initiative and directing the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) to convene the Employment First Task Force. Vanderbilt Kennedy Center faculty and staff were among a group of key stakeholders charged with identifying the barriers to employment that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities typically face in Tennessee and with developing recommendations for eliminating those barriers.

Expect employment for people with disabilities

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 12:42:06 PM



Depression is a common yet serious condition in children and adults with and without disabilities. In one study, a psychiatrist/neuroscientist explores an innovative diagnostic approach. In another study, a psychologist and colleagues investigate effectiveness of combining cognitive therapy with antidepressant medicine.

Investigating depression diagnosis and treatment

Last Updated: 7/6/2016 12:40:46 PM