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Autism Leader Receives $2.5M Training Grant


Award Provides New Research Opportunities for Students and Faculty

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine recently received a prestigious award which will allow epidemiologists and medical professionals from both schools to join forces in training the next generation of leaders in genetic research.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund awarded the $2.5 million grant to the Maryland Genetics, Epidemiology and Medicine program—called MdGEM for short. The program, jointly administered by the Bloomberg School and the School of Medicine, will allow researchers to cross-train genetic epidemiologists and human geneticists simultaneously, increasing collaboration and furthering the missions of both fields.

M. Daniele Fallin, PhD, professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology and director of the Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities, will lead the project along with David Valle, MD, Henry J. Knott Professor and Director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Priya Duggal, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology.

"Cross-school training programs like this are rare but needed," said Fallin. "It fills a gap in training for the next generation of public health and medical leaders—and now we are very eager to assemble a top-notch team to work on these important issues."

“We are very excited about this for several reasons: it provides additional training opportunities for Epidemiology  and Human Genetics students that are very relevant to the future directions of both fields; it strengthens a bridge between the school of public health and school of medicine, which we believe will stimulate additional interactions between the two schools,” said Valle.

The grant will provide additional training opportunities for both Bloomberg School epidemiology students and School of Medicine students, in addition to providing cutting-edge research opportunities for faculty.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and educational activities. The Institutional Program Unifying Population and Laboratory Based Sciences Awards are awarded once every five years. Only three programs in the country received the award this year. The other two recipients were the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Boston University.

Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or