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Release Date: 09/09/2015

Stephen Sheinkopf, PhD, assistant professor (research) of psychiatry and pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and clinician at the Women & Infants’ Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk, has been awarded a grant totaling $496,312 from the Simons Foundation for his project “Biomarkers of Emotion Regulations, Social Response and Social Attention in ASD.”

Dr. Sheinkopf’s study will develop improved measures to document effects of very early interventions for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Most treatment studies have to rely on long-term outcome measures, slowly down the rate of discovery of new and effective treatments. Dr. Sheinkopf hopes to develop and validate short-term measurements that can be used to accelerate future treatment research.

“Measuring short-term outcomes would improve treatment research by speeding discovery and validation of early interventions, but is limited by measurement tools that are insensitive to small changes in behavior,” explained Dr. Sheinkopf. “Our proposed biomarkers are measures of the way that individuals perceive, respond to, and pay attention to the environment. Thus, improved functioning in these basic areas should support adaptation and learning and can be expected to precede long-term behavioral outcomes.”

The results of the study will serve as biomarkers to measure emotion regulation, social responsiveness, and social attention. Together, Dr. Sheinkopf expects them to correlate with dysfunctions already witnessed in ASD.

For more information visit the Brown Center, or call 401-453-7640.

About the Simons Foundation
The Simons Foundation at its core exists to support basic — or discovery-driven — scientific research, undertaken in pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our world without specific application in mind. The foundation’s support of scientists generally takes the form of direct grants to individual investigators and projects, through their academic institutions. The foundation makes grants in four areas: Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, autism research and education and outreach.

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About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 9th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.
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