Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Christopher J. McDougle named director of the Lurie Center for Autism

Christopher J. McDougle, MD has been named director of the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC).  McDougle, currently the Albert Eugene Sterne Professor of Psychiatry and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine, will begin his new role in October. McDougle will also serve as the Nancy Lurie Marks Professor in the Field of Autism at Harvard Medical School.

The Lurie Center for Autism (formerly known as LADDERS) combines comprehensive care with advanced research to better meet the needs of autistic individuals from early childhood through adulthood.  In the two years since being established by a generous gift from Nancy Lurie Marks and the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, the Lurie Center has expanded to offer a range of services for adults plus a rapid diagnosis program, and a new alternative and augmentative communications clinic. A policy and advocacy program is also in place. With Dr. McDougle’s arrival, clinical experience and expertise will be harnessed to expand the Center’s research mission even further.

 “I am honored to have this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individuals with autism and their families,” said Christopher J. McDougle, MD, incoming director of the Lurie Center for Autism. “Our goals are to provide outstanding clinical care to children, adolescents and adults with autism and related disorders; to identify underlying mechanisms that cause autism in subgroups of individuals; to develop more specific treatments targeted toward these etiologic factors; and to develop the top center in the world for these missions by collaborating with talented local and national member of the neuroscience community.”

“Dr. McDougle is an internationally-recognized expert in research and treatment for neurodevelopmental disorders that extend into adulthood, the major focus of the Lurie Center for Autism,” said Clarence Schutt, PhD, director and chief scientific officer of the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation. “He has an unusual ability to translate basic scientific and clinical observations into new therapies. In his role as Director, he will also build a teaching and physician mentoring program in the field of autism that will seed programs world-wide with the lessons learned at MGH.”

McDougle has been honored with multiple awards for excellence in teaching, as well as for research on schizophrenia and depression. McDougle has also received multiple grants for the study of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders.  A graduate of Valparaiso University (’81), McDougle earned his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine (’86).  He subsequently completed a residency in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine (‘90) and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center (‘95).

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of nearly $700 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, reproductive biology, regenerative medicine, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine.



Kristen Stanton, 617 643-3907, kstanton3@partners.org

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