32 episodes

“The Promise of Discovery” is a podcast hosted by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) that highlights research in intellectual and developmental disabilities. The goals of the podcast are to host conversations about research in plain language and to highlight “real world” implications. The discussions cover why the research matters in the lives of people with disabilities and families, how the research impacts and enhances what we know already and/or raises additional questions in the field, and what implications the research might have for policy.

The Promise of Discovery Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

    • Science

“The Promise of Discovery” is a podcast hosted by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) that highlights research in intellectual and developmental disabilities. The goals of the podcast are to host conversations about research in plain language and to highlight “real world” implications. The discussions cover why the research matters in the lives of people with disabilities and families, how the research impacts and enhances what we know already and/or raises additional questions in the field, and what implications the research might have for policy.

    Support needs of siblings who have brothers and sisters with disabilities

    Support needs of siblings who have brothers and sisters with disabilities

    The Promise of Discovery Season 4, Episode 5

    The needs of siblings of individuals with disabilities are under studied. The research presented in this episode highlights theme areas of support as raised by 446 siblings of individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome. It asks and answers the question: What would have been beneficial to you growing up as the sibling of a person with a disability?

    Featuring: Gillian Neff, graduate student, Vanderbilt University
    Interviewer: Alexandra Da Fonte, Ph.D., associate professor of the practice, Special Education; and a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Member

    • 22 min
    Activation Mechanisms for Context-Dependent Allosteric Modulation of the mGlu7 receptor

    Activation Mechanisms for Context-Dependent Allosteric Modulation of the mGlu7 receptor

    The Promise of Discovery Season 4, Episode 4

    This research examines mGlu7, a transmembrane receptor involved in several neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Rett syndrome, ADHD, schizophrenia, and Neurofibromatosis Type 1. The project discussed studies the mechanism of mGlu7 activation by allosteric modulators to develop new treatments and help guide drug discovery efforts.

    Featuring: Xia Lei, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Vanderbilt University

    Interviewer: Colleen Niswender, Ph.D., associate professor of Pharmacology; Director of Molecular Pharmacology, Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery; and a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Member

    • 12 min
    Associations Between Executive Functioning Impairments and Anxiety Symptoms among Youth with Autism

    Associations Between Executive Functioning Impairments and Anxiety Symptoms among Youth with Autism

    The Promise of Discovery Season 4, Episode 3

    Many people with autism experience executive functioning (EF) impairments, and its widely acknowledged that these challenges play a significant role in autism. Anxiety symptoms are highly prevalent and impairing challenges for autistic youth, and emerging evidence suggests EF impairments exacerbate anxiety. This study examines how everyday EF impairments are related to specific anxiety symptoms in autistic youth.

    Featuring: Christina Burroughs, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Vanderbilt University

    Interviewer: Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., James G. Blakemore Chair and Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Professor of Psychology; Associate Director, Division of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and VKC Member

    • 18 min
    Chronic developmental manganese exposure alters response to amphetamine and methylphenidate

    Chronic developmental manganese exposure alters response to amphetamine and methylphenidate

    The Promise of Discovery Season 4, Episode 2

    Manganese is essential for brain development and human health. However, excess manganese can be toxic. The Harrison lab discusses how manganese exposures can alter the response to some drugs currently used to treat intellectual and developmental disabilities.


    Featuring: Adriana Tienda, Lab Manager, Harrison Lab

    Interviewer: Fiona Harrison, Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine; Director, IDDRC Behavioral Phenotyping Core (Core D); Mouse Behavioral Phenotyping Faculty Coordinator; VKC Member

    • 8 min
    Investigating markers of Alzheimer’s in individuals with Down syndrome

    Investigating markers of Alzheimer’s in individuals with Down syndrome

    The Promise of Discovery Season 4, Episode 1

    Adults with Down syndrome have a greatly increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life. Ongoing research focuses on investigating different markers of Alzheimer's disease in adults with Down Syndrome. These studies are specifically examining a neurotransmitter system called the cholinergic system that is vitally important for cognition and known to decline early in Alzheimer's disease in the neurotypical population. Understanding the progression of these different markers associated with Alzheimer's disease will provide essential data for future therapeutic trials in adults with Down Syndrome.

    Center for Cognitive Medicine website: https://www.vumc.org/ccm/welcome

    Trial Ready Cohort for Down Syndrome: https://www.vumc.org/ccm/trcds

    Featuring: Jason Russell, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychiatry

    Interviewer: Paul Newhouse, M.D., Jim Turner Professor of Cognitive Disorders; Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Pharmacology, and Medicine; Director, Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine; VKC Member

    • 25 min
    Erik Carter: A career in friendships, flourishing, and faith

    Erik Carter: A career in friendships, flourishing, and faith

    The Promise of Discovery Season 3, Episode 4

    In 2022, VKC UCEDD Co-Director Erik Carter announced he would be leaving Vanderbilt and taking a position at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Carter to discuss some of his highly impactful research, training and technical assistance in the areas of adolescent transitions to adult life and employment; social interaction and friendships, school and community inclusion; faith and disability, and belonging.

    VKC Researcher:
    Erik Carter, Ph.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and Professor of Special Education; Co-Director, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)

    Interviewer: Courtney Taylor, M.Div., Director of Communications and Dissemination, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

    • 51 min

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