Significant advances in developmental neurosciences, epidemiology, diagnosis, research methodologies, and treatment identify neurodevelopmental disorders as a problem requiring a multidisciplinary approach. Responsiveness to changing needs of individuals and their parents demanded the integration of the University of South Carolina, Greenville Health System, and Medical University of South Carolina’s faculty and resources under a shared philosophy of collaboration.
The establishment of a Center of Excellence for Childhood Neurotherapeutics (CECN) was made official in 2006. Thus far 2 endowed chairs have been named to work in collaboration in order to prevent or cure targeted infant brain disorders. The endowed chairs are Dr. Jeffrey Twiss (USC Columbia) and Dr. Manuel Casanova (USC/GHS Greenville).
The mission of the CECN is to conduct collaborative research to increase the quality and quantity of translational research and to accelerate biotechnology development concerning neurodevelopmental disorders in the state of South Carolina. To accomplish this mission the CECN will pursue partnerships and collaborations with other Smart State Chairs and relevant institutions across the state (University of South Carolina Columbia, Medical University of South Carolina, Greenwood Genetic Center, etc.) to grow advanced interdisciplinary research in therapeutic interventions for childhood neurobehavioral disorders. This research will address pressing societal needs by examining the relationship between the developing brain and the emergence of psychological abilities during infancy and childhood, studying neuropathological underpinnings of cognitive and behavioral deficits across a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders and developing novel therapeutic interventions. As a major health problem throughout the world, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is one of the most important initiatives of the CECN. Our Autism Program follows USC/GHS’s proposal by incorporating faculty and resources from several sources in order to better help individuals develop and utilize their potential.