Daniel Goldowitz, an internationally recognized expert in brain development and brain disorders, has been appointed Visiting Hannah Distinguished Professor, the most prestigious faculty appointment at Michigan State University.
With the appointment in the College of Human Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, Goldowitz will consult and advise leaders of the MSU Institute for Research in Autism, Intellectual and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.
He also will guide the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development in creating a research program in developmental neurosciences, autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities, and he will assist with ongoing recruitment of investigators in autism spectrum disorders.
“Dr. Goldowitz brings extensive autism research experience, providing faculty investigators at MSU the opportunity to learn from an innovative leader,” said Aron Sousa, interim dean of the College of Human Medicine. “His expertise will enable us to deepen our collaborations with research partners in the U.S. and abroad.”
During his time at MSU, Goldowitz will continue serving as a professor in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Medical Genetics, where he holds a prestigious Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. He also is scientific director of NeuroDevNet, a multi-disciplinary network of researchers in Canada founded to understand the genetic and environmental causes of cerebral palsy, autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
“We look forward to working with Dr. Goldowitz and following his guidance in developing a strategic plan to strengthen and expand our pediatric neurodevelopmental research program at MSU,” said Keith English, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development.
Goldowitz said he welcomes that opportunity.
In recent years, researchers have identified new autism risk genes, opening the door for earlier diagnosis and better treatments for children with the disorder. The goal is to translate the research into tangible benefits for autism patients and their families.
“That’s the brave, new world and the excitement that surrounds the work we want to do at MSU,” Goldowitz said. “My goal is to help the very creative minds that are on the Michigan State University campuses, first to marshal them to think strategically about how Michigan State can become a world leader in neurodevelopmental research. That really could change the landscape of how we think of neuro disabilities research, including autism. That’s why I accepted the challenge.”