February 6, 2001

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Contact: Roger Martin, KU Center for Research, (785) 864-7239.

KU names new director of Institute for Life Span Studies

LAWRENCE -- Steve Warren has been named the new director of the University of Kansas Institute for Life Span Studies, effective Aug. 1.

Warren, who received all of his degrees from KU, has served as director of the KU Mental Retardation Research Center since December 1999.

He will replace Steve Schroeder, director of the life span institute for the last 11 years. Schroeder will return full-time to research and scholarly writing.

Robert Barnhill, vice chancellor for research and public service, said, "The life span institute affects Kansas, the region and the nation with its research and applications. Steve Warren is a nationally respected figure who will lend strength to the institute's continued success."

Warren said, "My two predecessors -- Dick Schiefelbusch and Steve Schroeder -- have built an exceptional organization, and I am steward of that."

Looking to the future, Warren said, "I think we will see increasing collaboration between people in Lawrence and at the Medical Center, as well as other universities."

Collaborative research between specialists in human behavior and in the biological sciences will become increasingly important as genetic and brain-based explanations for human behavior continue to flower, he said.

"The isolation of behavioral sciences from biology is dying," Warren said. "Behavioral research can play an important role to the extent that it connects to what's going on in biology and neuroscience."

For 17 years, Warren was a professor of special education and deputy director of the John F. Kennedy Center for Human Development at Vanderbilt University, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious mental retardation research programs.

Warren, whose research focuses on stages of development that must occur before a child can speak or write, was named president-elect of the American Association on Mental Retardation in June 2000 and will be sworn in as president in June 2001. The association is the leading professional and consumer organization in the United States for persons with mental retardation.

The Institute for Life Span Studies generated an estimated $14.4 million in research income in fiscal year 2000, more than any other KU center or institute.

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