The March of Dimes honored Emory geneticist Stephen T. Warren, PhD, with the Champion for Babies Award at the organization's Evening of Excellence Gala Oct. 25 in Atlanta. The event celebrated the March of Dimes' 70 years of success as the nation's leading organization for pregnancy and baby health.
Warren is the William P. Timmie professor and chair of human genetics in Emory University School of Medicine. He led the international team of scientists who in 1991 discovered the gene responsible for fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of inherited mental retardation. The breakthrough has led to the development of diagnostic tests for the syndrome and its carriers as well as the identification and study of possible therapies. Warren's discoveries hold great promise for solving the mysteries of developmental delays, mental disorders and autism.
Warren and his colleagues maintain one of the largest federally funded fragile X research programs in the country. They are working to unravel the molecular mechanisms of fragile X syndrome in order to gain new insight into potential therapeutic approaches and to understand learning, behavior, reproduction and neurological phenotypes of carriers of the fragile X mutation.
The Fragile X Syndrome Center at Emory offers medical and developmental assessment for newborns to age 18, as well as genetic counseling, referrals, consultations, support groups, educational resources, access to research projects, and treatment and interventional strategies.
Along with Warren, Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle was honored for his leadership in inspiring citizens to make a difference in the lives of children through volunteer service.
"Through their passionate community service and stellar professional achievements, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Dr. Stephen T. Warren exemplify the premise upon which the March of Dimes was founded -- by working together, we can solve complex problems and make a profound impact in our community and the world," sad Gala Chair, Carolyn Blaine.
The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth.