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Donation to Facilitate Major Advancements in Neuroscience Center
at Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Dan and Susan Katzin of Wilmington, DE, have pledged $4 million toward the development of a comprehensive clinical and research program for children with autism and other neurological disorders at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (AIDHC). Components of the program will include The Katzin Diagnostic and Research PET/MRI Center, the addition of unique expertise in the neurosciences, and building renovations to create an autism-friendly environment.
The PET/MRI Center will offer children the benefits of PET (positron emission tomography) technology, which provides reduced levels of radiation exposure , and will allow neurologists, neurosurgeons and other specialists to offer truly state-of-the-art care, especially in the treatment of epilepsy and cancer.
It will also advance Nemours Biomedical Research, allowing noninvasive assessment of various processes in the brain. PET technology has been key in understanding the mechanisms and potential treatments of neurological disorders such as autism.
The Katzins’ generous donation aided in the recruitments of Harry T. Chugani, MD, an internationally prominent neurologist and epilepsy specialist, and Diane C. Chugani, PhD, a renowned autism researcher. They will join the Nemours faculty in December 2015.
Dr. Harry Chugani will serve the hospital as Division Chief of Neurology. He is widely recognized for treating epilepsy in children and the use of PET imaging to guide surgical treatment aimed at stopping seizures. Dr. Chugani's research has been in the area of cerebral metabolism in brain development, epilepsy surgery and the use of PET techniques in children.
Dr. Diane Chugani will join Nemours as Director of Neuroscience Research, building on her considerable success to mentor new investigators in disorders of brain and behavior. Her personal research employs PET imaging to discover the manner by which autism develops and to design and test new treatments based upon the findings. Dr. Chugani is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Autism Speaks and was a founding board member of the International Society for Autism Research.
"This convergence of new technology with leading experts in the field will greatly improve the identification, treatment and research of neurological and behavioral disorders and positions Nemours to become a national leader in the neurosciences," said Nemours/AIDHC CEO Roy Proujansky, MD.
"We are extremely grateful to the Katzins for their generosity, enthusiasm and foresight in helping us build a neuroscience center of prominence here at Nemours," added Jeffrey Campbell, MD, neurosurgeon and Director of the Nemours Neuroscience Center at AIDHC.
Dan and Susan Katzin retired to Wilmington 8 years ago. He formerly worked in finance in New York and she in government for the State of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. The Katzins said they are pleased to be able to help children in new and better ways. Their son, Jack, 16, is on the autism spectrum. "Susan and I are pleased to make this donation in the hope it will have a meaningful impact in saving and improving the lives of children in the Delaware Valley," Dan Katzin said. "Our ultimate desire is that this gift of technology will seed here, in our community, a much needed center for autism and neuroscience."