Orange Alert

Volunteers Needed for Child Behavior Research Study at SUNY Upstate

Study is co-led by Syracuse alumnus, involves five A&S student interns

Jan. 12, 2016, by Amy M. Mertz

Children between the ages of six and 12 and their parents are needed for a new child behavioral research study at SUNY Upstate Medical University

“We are studying new ways of understanding the cognitive and behavioral development of children and their family members in order to help change the way that mental health disorders are understood and diagnosed in the future,” says Pat Forken, a research specialist in SUNY Upstate’s Psychiatric Genetics Lab. “The goal is to improve classification and look at genes that may predispose someone to a wide variety of childhood mental health disorders. Researchers will analyze how disorders, genes and cognitive abilities run in families. We want to help change the way neuropsychiatric disorders are diagnosed in children, moving from a subjective model to one that is rooted in biology.”

The study is co-directed by Stephen J. Glatt ’96, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, as well as neuroscience and physiology; and Stephen Faraone, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry.

Also involved is Kayla Wagner ’14, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). She is currently doing an assistantship at SUNY Upstate, where she serves as a research analyst for the study. Kristen Anders ’15 (biology and spanish) was hired to work on the study after volunteering two semesters. She oversees five A&S interns: Kari Krajewski ‘18 (health and exercise science), Meagan Scott ‘17 (biotechnology and psychology dual major), Crystal Ramos ‘18 (biology and psychology dual major), Emma Cleary ‘18 (psychology) and Joseph O'Gorman ‘19 (biology).

The study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The study is open to both children with and children without mental health concerns. The procedure--which includes a series of questionnaires, computer-based games and the submission of a DNA sample for genetic analysis--can take up to three hours. All families will be financially compensated for their participation. For more information, contact Pat Forken at 315-464-5619, visit the website or find them on Facebook.

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Robert M Enslin