Former NeuroDevNet post-doc receives CIHR new investigator award

July 8, 2016

Dr. Jill Zwicker was one of 40 investigators to receive a CIHR New Investigator Award in the 2015 competition. Dr. Zwicker’s proposal focuses on the understanding and rehabilitation of children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), a condition characterised by difficulties with movement and coordination in activities of daily life.

This competitive award will provide $60,000 worth of support for 5 years, for a total of $300,000. Using this money, Zwicker aims to improve our understanding and develop treatment approaches for those affected by DCD.

 “I am honoured to receive this award, said Zwicker, ”not only to be recognized nationally as a promising early career investigator, but more importantly that my research aimed at improving outcomes for children with developmental coordination disorder is worthy of national funding.”

DCD is a life-long disorder affecting motor abilities and coordination of affected individuals, often leading to difficulties in school, interpersonal relationships, and leisure activities. DCD affects 5-6% of Canadian school-aged children, who often feel anxious, lonely and depressed because of their challenges.  Up to 50% of children with DCD also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Zwicker’s proposed study will rely on neuroimaging to compare the brains of children with these disorders against typically-developing controls, and determine if rehabilitation can improve their motor function and evoke changes in the brain.

“DCD is a very common neurodevelopmental disorder, but children with DCD are often misunderstood and under-recognized,” said Zwicker. “My hope is that my research will increase awareness of the disorder and improve outcomes and services for affected children.”

Story by: Su Han Ong