Emmanuel Bonney, MPhil, PhD
Nominated From: University of Minnesota
Research Site: Makerere University
Research Area: Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
Primary Mentor: Jed Elison
The Ugandan Early Childhood Phenoscreening Project
There is very little data characterizing neurobehavioral and neurodevelopmental health in children across low and middle-income countries. Identifying atypical neurodevelopmental features and intervening early promises to improve long-term individual outcomes as well as economic sustainability. The purpose of the Ugandan Phenoscreening Project is to quantify/derive population-based distributions of early emerging dimensional markers in Ugandan children using an integrated low-cost screening approach.Our strategy assesses multiple dimensions or domains of behavior to derive distinct risk profiles to more precisely characterize neurobehavioral development in children. This approach is based on the assumption that certain patterns of behavior aggregate to indicate specific risks, but that these profiles may not overlap with conventional, Western-defined diagnostic categories. Hence, we are screening for specific phenotypes, not diagnostic categories, and therefore describe our approach as Phenoscreening.
This research will provide data on neurobehavioral risk profiles to inform the development of a culturally appropriate public health response that supports subsequent screening and surveillance efforts in low resource settings. In addition, the study may improve early identification and intervention for children at risk for neurodevelopmental disability.
Advice for Potential Candidates
I will advise potential candidates not to underestimate the value of what they are doing. They need to appreciate that their investments in global health will yield dividends for the next generation. I will also urge prospective candidates to build their contacts and collaborative network, and to develop independence of mind and a vision for the future. Lastly, I would like to encourage potential candidates to be open to new ideas, take opportunities, challenge the status quo and engage in impact-driven research to advance knowledge and improve lives.