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November 11, 2002

Grant will pay for new center on campus

From: University Daily Kansan, KS
Nov. 11, 2002

By Justin Henning
Kansan staff writer

The University of Kansas was awarded a $3.6 million grant to further its research on communication disorders.

The grant will be used to create a new center, called The Biobehavorial Neurosciences Communications Disorders Center, and will be directed by Mabel Rice, a distinguished professor of speech-language-hearing at the University.

The development of the center will provide further research on projects that deal with communication disorders. Various projects include professor John Colombo´s examination of an infant´s capability to remember and recognize and how they relate to future problems with learning and speech. Another project is professor Susan Kemper´s work, which shows how speech in older age relates to a decline in a person´s working memory.

“The award attests to the high regard for the scientific accomplishments of individual investigators affiliated with the center, and the fact that KU´s team of investigators is among the top teams in the nation,” Rice said.

Previous research done at the University had already resulted in products, such as the first diagnostic test for Specific Language Impairment. Called the “Actifier,” the device is a high-tech pacifier that helps premature babies learn to nurse and can detect developmental disabilities in the infant.

This center will be the 13th established under the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies. The grant, which is administered by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, can be renewed every five years. It marks the University as one of only 15 national centers that receive this federal funding.

Steven Warren, Life Span Institute director, said the grant supported his belief that KU was one of the strongest programs in the country on communication development and disorders throughout the lifespan.

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