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Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch (IDDB)

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The IDDB, formerly the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Branch, sponsors research and research training aimed at preventing and ameliorating intellectual and related developmental disabilities. The IDDB has a longstanding history of providing support for a diverse portfolio of research projects, training programs, and research centers dedicated to promoting the well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  When the Institute was created at the NIH in 1962 at the request of then-President John F. Kennedy and with the support of congress, one if its primary charges was to encourage investigations in human development throughout the lifespan, with an emphasis on understanding IDD. 

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The mission of the IDDB is to:

  • Develop and support research and research training programs in IDDs, including common and rare neuromuscular and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Down, Fragile X, and Rett syndromes, inborn errors of metabolism, autism spectrum disorders, and others;
  • Promote studies designed to understand the etiology and pathophysiology of abnormal nervous system development and to delineate genetic, genomic, and epigenetic bases of IDD;
  • Support research designed to examine the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and management of IDD and other conditions identified by newborn screening or other screening methods;
  • Administer a program of support for centers for research in IDD;
  • Promote multidisciplinary and translational research in IDD through programs that integrate basic and applied research, training, and service activities for those with IDD and their families; and
  • Collaborate with other federal agencies, organizations, and advocacy groups to advance efforts toward the prevention and diagnosis of IDD as well as early intervention and treatment for these conditions.
Last Reviewed: 01/30/2015

Contact Information

Name: Dr Melissa Ann Parisi
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch
Phone: 301-496-1383

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