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Congressman Higgins Announces $400,000 For Canisius Science Education Programs

Jul 12, 2010
Press Release

BUFFALO, NY – Canisius College was awarded a $400,000 federal grant to support its science education programs, including equipment and technology.  Sponsored by Congressman Brian Higgins (D-27), the grant will be directed toward the college’s Institute for Autism Research (IAR). 

“Congressman Higgins is a great champion for Canisius College and I am grateful for his efforts in helping to secure these funds,” says Canisius College President John J. Hurley.  “This grant will allow the IAR to significantly expand the applied learning experiences, research and academic programming opportunities currently available for undergraduate and graduate students, and will help further the IAR’s innovative research and treatment programs.” 

“Canisius College is a leader in education, and a community partner in efforts to enrich and enhance the Western New York region,” says Congressman Higgins. “These federal funds will help provide equipment that supports pioneering programs at the college including this one that seeks to learn from challenges that children with autism face and provide tools for change moving forward.”

The funding will be used to purchase assessment tools and equipment, research and training resources, psychophysiology equipment, computers, and audio-visual equipment needed to expand the science education program at Canisius.  This equipment will allow the IAR to provide undergraduate and graduate students with exposure to and applied experiences in the use of assessment tools and psychophysiology equipment; supervised field experiences involving treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), their families and school staff; and enhanced opportunities to participate in ongoing scientific research conducted by members of the IAR.  Students will also work closely with the faculty to conduct, publish and present the results of the research. 

The IAR was created at Canisius to conduct leading-edge research on autism spectrum disorders.  The IAR provides researchers and affiliated faculty with the facilities necessary to study and treat autism spectrum disorders in a collaborative manner.  

“We are very excited to be part of the college’s new interdisciplinary Science Center, and greatly appreciate the opportunity to increase science and research opportunities here at Canisius,” says Christopher J. Lopata, PsyD, assistant professor and co-director of the IAR at Canisius.  “The use of this funding for the development of science programming and the IAR reflects the college’s commitment to science, research, and specialized areas of study.”

“The IAR seeks to become a leading center for training on autism spectrum disorders, public outreach and research,” adds Marcus L. Thomeer, PhD, assistant professor and co-director of the IAR at Canisius.  “This grant will allow the IAR to purchase the equipment and technology needed to study and evaluate features of and treatments for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, while also preparing our students for graduate studies in the areas of research and ASDs.”

The research team for the Institute for Autism Research has authored many publications in top-tier scientific journals, and their research has been featured at both state and national conferences. They also have been the recipients of numerous research grants totaling approximately $3.6 million, including a three-year $1.2 million federal grant from the U. S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences to assess the feasibility of a comprehensive school-based intervention for children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders in public schools.

For more information on the Institute for Autism Research or the recent grant, contact the Office of Public Relations at (716) 888-2790.

Canisius College is one of 28 Jesuit colleges in the nation and the premier private college in Western New York.  Canisius prepares leaders – intelligent, caring, faithful individuals – able to pursue and promote excellence in their professions, their communities and their service to humanity.