From the Directors


Dr. David Sweatt 

Director
Sweattbeigecoat

"SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION"

Dr. Alan Percy

Medical Director

Dr. Alan Percy

Dr. Alan Percy, the emeritus former head of Child Neurology, has been the Associate Director/Medical Director of the Civitan International Research Center for more than twenty years and led the Sparks Clinics Developmental Clinic for much of this time until it was transitioned to the Department of Psychiatry. Currently, the Sparks Clinics are directed by Dr. Fred Biasini. Beginning in 2003, Dr. Percy led the multi-site Natural History Study (NHS) of Rett Syndrome in the Angelman/Prader-Willi/Rett Syndromes consortium. Since 2009, he assumed leadership of the entire consortium which transitioned in 2014 to a study focused on Rett syndrome (RTT), MECP2 duplication disorder, and RTT-related disorders. Presently, the NHS has enrolled more than 1200 individuals with RTT and hopes to expand this list significantly in the current grant cycle. Many important findings have been published and many more are in progress. The overarching goal of this initiative is to set the stage for clinical trials including understanding the natural history of RTT, firming up the phenotype-genotype relationship, and elaborating effective outcome measures for future trials. In addition, Dr. Percy has promoted the expansion of basic science research in RTT and has active collaborations with Dr. Lucas Pozzo-Miller in Neurobiology and Dr. Michelle Olsen in Cell, Developmental, & Integrative Biology, approaching translational studies with the goal of identifying targets for therapy in humans.

In expanding the clinical research aspects of the Civitan portfolio, emphasis is being placed in several other areas in addition to RTT. These include a broad strategy on autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorder, and related neurodevelopmental disabilities including our fMRI initiative as a means of understanding the CNS ‘connections’ underlying these disorders. In addition, our goal is to expand research in the important area of the epileptic encephalopathies.

The importance of translational research as noted above for Dr. Olsen and Dr. Pozzo-Miller - moving novel research ideas to the clinic - has prompted us to expand the membership of Civitan International Research Center Investigators to include clinical and basic researchers from across the UAB campus. This membership allows scientists and clinical faculty many unique opportunities for collaborative research projects and educational opportunities for their studentsIn approaching the clinical research aspects of the Civitan portfolio, emphasis is being placed in several areas, particularly in relation to our thematic strategy on autism and autism spectrum disorders. In addition to expansion of clinical research in autism including our fMRI initiative we are engaged in a large natural history study of Rett Syndrome together with other investigators in the Angelman/Prader-Willi/Rett Syndromes consortium. The pediatric motorneuron clinic for children with hemiparesis continues to enroll participants.

The importance of translational research - moving novel research ideas to the clinic - has prompted us to expand the membership of Civitan International Research Center Investigators to include clinical and basic researchers from across the UAB campus. This membership allows scientists and clinical faculty many unique opportunities for collaborative research projects and educational opportunities for their students.