Advancing knowledge of human development, developmental disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Qiang Chang, PhD Director, Waisman Center
Core Director, Rodent Models
Professor of Medical Genetics & Neurology
608-262-9416 | Room 657
Qiang Chang, PhD, is a professor of medical genetics and neurology, associate director of the Waisman Center Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Research Center and faculty co-director of the Rodent Models Core.
Chang completed his BS in biochemistry and molecular biology at Peking University in Beijing, PR China and earned his PhD in neurosciences from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. As a postdoctoral fellow, he studied neural regeneration at Children’s Hospital of Boston/Harvard Medical School, and neurological diseases at the Whitehead Institute/MIT.
Qiang’s laboratory at the Waisman Center is interested in the DNA methylation dependent epigenetic regulation of mammalian brain development and function, with a particular emphasis on understanding the molecular mechanism of Rett syndrome, an autism spectrum developmental disorder.
Christian is a professor in medical physics and psychiatry and will provide overall leadership for the application of the PET molecular imaging for research studies. He is an expert in PET neuroreceptor imaging, and has conducted studies in preclinical animal models for radiotracer development and characterization and translated these methods to human and disease specific cohorts. The PET lab is currently conducting investigations with a variety of PET neuroligands, including 2 first-in-human investigations, and is the recent recipient of an NICHD/NIA jointly funded multi-investigator grant to identify biomarkers such as β-amyoid and tau for studying dementia in adults with Down syndrome. Christian directs all aspects of PET research in the Core, including the human PET scanner and radiopharmaceutical development and the provision of training and consultation to investigators on the use of neuroligands for PET imaging of neurotransmitter and molecular function.
Leann Smith DaWalt, PhD
Director, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Co-core Director, Clinical Translational Core
608-890-1390 | Room S101B
Leann Smith DaWalt is the Director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at the Waisman Center.
She earned a doctoral degree in developmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 2006. Then, DaWalt started working at the Waisman Center as a fellow with Marsha Mailick, PhD, and Jan Greenberg, PhD. In 2008, she became a Waisman Center researcher in the Lifespan Family Research Program. Her research focuses on:
How intellectual and developmental disability affects the family system.
How families and communities can support the development of people with disabilities across their lives.
DaWalt is the Principal Investigator (PI) of several intervention studies focused on teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She uses the results of long-term research to make timely and effective treatments and services for people with ASD and their families.