Austria’s first Research Institute for Developmental Medicine (RID) at the JKU Faculty of Medicine opened its doors on March 6, 2019. The RID is unique in Austria.
Developmental disorders affect one in ten children. The JKU Faculty of Medicine’s new Research Institute for Developmental Medicine (RID) is unique in Austria and opened its doors on March 6, 2019, to focus on researching developmental disorders.
Years of clinical and scientific research conducted at the Institute of Sense and Speech Neurology at the Barmherzigen Brüder hospital in Linz (Department head: Prim. Priv. Doz. Dr. Johannes Fellinger) serves as the basis for this new research institute. Funding for the first six years will be provided by the Konvent der Barmherzigen Brüder in Linz.
Taking the entire lifespan into consideration and going beyond childhood and adolescence will be an innovative element at the research institute. Prof. Fellinger, a specialist in neurology and psychiatry with additional professional qualifications in neuropediatrics, will take over the new research institute, “When it comes to questions regarding competent, interdisciplinary care in adulthood, this has not been addressed in many cases where there are congenital or acquired childhood disorders.”
JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas remarked, “The new Research Institute for Developmental Medicine is an ideal representation for the path the JKU is currently on. Young patients are studied beyond their childhood years. Interdisciplinary experts have access to networks and not only see children who need help, but the person as a whole. A holistic perspective is needed to not only alleviate symptoms but manage the problem as a whole. This is our mindset at the Faculty of Medicine as well as in other areas.”
Health Minister Christine Haberlander added, “Healthy childhood development lays the foundation for a happy, successful life. Upper Austria is committed to healthcare and base-knowledge research in developmental medicine. The research institute has been designed to help parents continue guiding and caring for their children as they become adults. As a Health Councilmember, I am particularly pleased that we have been able to contribute to the success of this project and that the developments and findings benefit the well-being of young patients and their parents. This also underscores how important it is for the JKU to collaborate with hospitals in Upper Austria.”
The respective research projects are fundamentally multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary and explore evidence-based intervention options, developmental disorders from childhood to adulthood, aspects such as the quality of life, healthcare, social aspects as well as education.
Detecting developmental disorders as early as possible is crucial in order for treatment to be effective. This research area focuses on several research projects:
- A research project will focus on developing a screening procedure to assess risks in autism spectrum disorders at pediatric practices.
- Another project together with partners in Boston focuses on how to best and most effectively diagnose autism spectrum disorders.
- In addition, data from hearing-impaired children will be systematically collected as part of an epidemiological long-term study and evaluated multi-dimensionally with good outcome predictors (such as language, psychosocial health,...).
Research Partners in Boston
The institute’s opening ceremony was in line with the unique institute’s high quality standards. Professor William Barbaresi (Harvard Medical School and head of the Department of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital) addressed over 250 guests at the opening ceremony together with his colleagues Jason Fogler and Carolyn Bridgemohan in his speech titled “The Impact of Research in Developmental Medicine”.
The BOLD Cooperation (Boston-Linz Developmental Medicine) created in 2011 between the Boston Children’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School) and the Institute of Sense and Speech Neurology will be incorporated into the new research institute.
For Prof. Dr. Fellinger, the new institute represents a milestone achievement: “The work at the research institute will improve the lives of people who have developmental disabilities here and around the world.”
RID – Facts & Figures
Director: Prim. Priv. Doz. Dr. Johannes Fellinger and Priv-Doz. Dr. Daniel Holzinger
Staff: Magdalena Dall, MSc, Research Coordinators, along with additional researchers and clinicians
Topic Areas: Sensory Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Language and Communication Disorders and other Neurodevelopmental Disorders