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1.  Identifying interdisciplinary research priorities to prevent and treat pediatric obesity in New York City 
It is well recognized that an interdisciplinary approach is essential in the development and implementation of solutions to address the current pediatric obesity epidemic. In two half-day meetings that included workshops and focus groups, faculty from diverse fields identified critically important research challenges and gaps to childhood obesity prevention. The purpose of this white paper is to describe the iterative, interdisciplinary process that unfolded in an academic health center setting with a specific focus on under-represented minority groups of Black and Hispanic communities, and to summarize the research challenges and gaps related to pediatric obesity which were identified in the process. Although the research challenges and gaps were developed in the context of an urban setting including high risk populations (the northern Manhattan communities of Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem), many of the issues raised are broadly applicable. The processes by which the group identified research gaps and methodological challenges that impede a better understanding of how to prevent and treat obesity in children has resulted in an increase in research and community outreach collaborations and interdisciplinary pursuit of funding opportunities across units within the academic health center and overall University.
PMCID: PMC3677023  PMID: 20718818
pediatric obesity prevention; interdisciplinary; research priorities
2.  Identifying and Aligning Expectations in a Mentoring Relationship 
The mentoring relationship between a scholar and their primary mentor is a core feature of research training. Anecdotal evidence suggests this relationship is adversely affected when scholar and mentor expectations are not aligned. We examined three questions: (1) What is the value in assuring that the expectations of scholars and mentors are mutually identified and aligned? (2) What types of programmatic interventions facilitate this process? (3) What types of expectations are important to identify and align? We addressed these questions through a systematic literature review, focus group interviews of mentors and scholars, a survey of Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) KL2 program directors, and review of formal programmatic mechanisms used by KL2 programs. We found broad support for the importance of identifying and aligning the expectations of scholars and mentors and evidence that mentoring contracts, agreements, and training programs facilitate this process. These tools focus on aligning expectations with respect to the scholar’s research, education, professional development and career advancement as well as support, communication, and personal conduct and interpersonal relations. Research is needed to assess test the efficacy of formal alignment activities.
PMCID: PMC3476480  PMID: 22212226
mentors; mentoring; career development; faculty development; staff development
3.  Sharing Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Cost Recovery to Facilitate Interdisciplinary Research 
Despite increasing interest in interdisciplinary research, researchers consistently cite institutional barriers as deterrents. Researchers, administrators, and others have suggested developing processes for sharing facilities and administrative (F&A) cost recovery as one way to support collaborative research. Therefore, the authors reviewed current policies for sharing F&A cost recovery and user satisfaction with them.
In 2010, through reviewing institutional Websites and surveying researchers and grants administrators from a range of institutions, the authors identified a number of different policies currently employed and assessed user satisfaction with them.
While most respondents (80.7%, 205/254) agreed that a standard policy for sharing F&A cost recovery would facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, only 35.4% (90/254) reported that their institutions had such a policy. Among the 85 respondents whose institutions had a policy, most (66 [77.6%]) reported that the policy applied to grants with multiple principal investigators or co-investigators across departments or schools, and 68 (80.0%) reported satisfaction with the policy. Respondents from institutions with policies were significantly more likely to endorse the notion that policies are helpful compared to those who reported that their institutions did not have such policies or were unsure of their existence (89% versus 76%, P = 0.014). The authors detected no significant differences in satisfaction scores based on type of policy, whether determined by investigator effort, space allocation, or other considerations (P = 0.29).
These data support the need for institutions to establish formal policies for sharing F&A cost recovery as a way to promote interdisciplinary research collaboration.
PMCID: PMC3045474  PMID: 21248610
4.  Building Interdisciplinary Research Models: A Didactic Course to Prepare Interdisciplinary Scholars and Faculty 
Many academicians assume that anyone can engage in interdisciplinary research, but it is clear that successful interdisciplinary efforts require mastery of specific competencies which can be learned and improved. This article describes the development and implementation of a course designed for Master’s, pre- and post-doctoral students and research faculty on models of interdisciplinary research skills, based on a set of core competencies. Major challenges included working through institutional structures which made it difficult to offer cross-school courses, and interpersonal challenges among a diverse group of students from a number of disciplines. Although universities may be poised for interdisciplinary research, strategies for faculty preparation and support are lacking. Institutions embracing the concept of team and interdisciplinary science must focus not only on the structural barriers and facilitators, but also on direct support to faculty. The didactic course described in this paper is one approach to enhance interdisciplinary research skills of scholars-in-training and faculty, and we recommend that similar efforts be widely implemented.
PMCID: PMC3065214  PMID: 21348954
5.  Paternal Age and Risk of Schizophrenia in Adult Offspring 
The American journal of psychiatry  2002;159(9):1528-1533.
The study examined the relation between paternal age at the time of birth and risk of schizophrenia in the adult offspring.
Data from the birth cohort of the Prenatal Determinants of Schizophrenia study were used in this study. Virtually all members of this birth cohort had prospective information about paternal age at the time of the offspring's birth. Subjects with schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum disorders (N=71) among members of this birth cohort were previously ascertained. In separate analyses, paternal age was modeled as a continuous variable and as a categorical variable, and its relation with the risk of adult schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum disorders and with the risk of schizophrenia separately were examined.
There was a marginally significant, monotonic association between advancing paternal age and risk of adult schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The association held after the analysis controlled for the effects of maternal age and other potential con-founders. Similar results were observed when only subjects with schizophrenia were included in the analysis.
Advanced paternal age at the time of birth of the offspring may be a risk factor for adult schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC2989614  PMID: 12202273
6.  Influence of variation in birth weight within normal range and within sibships on IQ at age 7 years: cohort study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;323(7308):310-314.
To examine the relation between birth weight and measured intelligence at age 7 years in children within the normal range of birth weight and in siblings.
Cohort study of siblings of the same sex.
12 cities in the United States.
3484 children of 1683 mothers in a birth cohort study during the years 1959 through 1966. The sample was restricted to children born at ⩾37 weeks gestation and with birth weights of 1500-3999 g.
Main outcome measure
Full scale IQ at age 7 years.
Mean IQ increased monotonically with birth weight in both sexes across the range of birth weight in a linear regression analysis of one randomly selected sibling per family (n= 1683) with adjustment for maternal age, race, education, socioeconomic status, and birth order. Within same sex sibling pairs, differences in birth weight were directly associated with differences in IQ in boys (812 pairs, predicted IQ difference per 100 g change in birth weight =0.50, 95% confidence interval 0.28 to 0.71) but not girls (871 pairs, 0.10, −0.09 to 0.30). The effect in boys remained after differences in birth order, maternal smoking, and head circumference were adjusted for and in an analysis restricted to children with birth weight ⩾ 2500 g.
The increase in childhood IQ with birth weight continues well into the normal birth weight range. For boys this relation holds within same sex sibships and therefore cannot be explained by confounding from family social environment.
What is already known on this topicIQ at school age is linked to birth weight among low birthweight babiesSome evidence suggests the association might also apply to children of normal birth weightWhat this study addsIQ at age 7 years is linearly related to birth weight among children of normal birth weightThe relation was not due to confounding by maternal or socioeconomic factorsIQ is also associated with differences in birth weight between boy sibling pairs but not girls
PMCID: PMC37317  PMID: 11498487

Results 1-6 (6)