From the Directors

Dr. Harald Sontheimer


Thank you for visiting the home of the Civitan International Research Center (CIRC) and allowing me to share my excitement and vision about developmental disabilities research at the CIRC in the 21st century. As new knowledge develops, and as the landscape of disabilities changes, so must the research concerning disabilities. While we continue to devote a substantial research effort on well known developmental disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome, we are increasingly concerned about Autism and related Autism spectrum disorders, which are now diagnosed at an alarming rate. Remarkably little is known concerning brain regions affected by or responsible for autism.  Among the CIRC core facilities key to addressing these conditions is the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory devoted exclusively to research.  This is just one of the technologies that will hopefully allow CIRC Scientists to unravel the mystery of autism and related developmental disabilities. It goes without saying that research at the CIRC requires substantial financial research support. I feel fortunate that Civitan International is providing a base of financial support that is so critically needed to spearhead new research endeavors. We rely and value this partnership with Civitan's around the globe! Thank you!


Dr. Alan Percy
Medical Director


In 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.