Physician-Scientist Seese Wins Prestigious NIH Award

ROOTSTOWN, Ohio – The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, supported by the Common Fund at the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a $1.95 million grant to Ronald R. Seese, M.D., Ph.D., a developmental neurologist at Akron Children’s Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

The 2023 NIH Director’s Early Independence Award is across five years for Seese’s project, titled “Defining the Autonomic Cerebellum in Autism.”

Dysautonomia is a prevalent and disabling neurologic disorder that affects over 70% of children with autism. There are no targeted treatments to reduce the dysregulated autonomic responses, or dysautonomia, that affect patients. Seese aims to test if modulating the adrenal-related cerebellum alters autonomic physiologic responses.

His studies have the potential to identify specific cerebellar regions to target with new treatment approaches that aim to reverse refractory dysautonomia in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The proposed work could ultimately transform how dysautonomia in ASD and other disorders associated with how cerebellar abnormalities are managed.

“I am humbled by and grateful for the support of the NIH High-Risk, High-Reward program, Akron Children’s Hospital and Northeast Ohio Medical University,” says Seese. “This NIH Director’s Early Independence Award will help accelerate translational research aimed to better understand the neurobiological basis of autism spectrum disorder, a highly prevalent neurodevelopmental disability that affects 1 in 36 children.

NEOMED and Akron Children’s have been partners since 1974, the year following the university’s founding.

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.