Over the years, one of the primary reasons that the Thompson Center has excelled in producing field-advancing, nationally recognized research is our access to experts in dozens of fields across the University of Missouri campus. This access, along with a tradition of fostering an atmosphere of collaboration across disciplines, has made the Thompson Center of a model of interdisciplinary work at Mizzou.
To continue this trend, the Thompson Center hosted its first annual Research Fair this summer to introduce students and junior faculty from Mizzou to the wide range of research and collaborative opportunities at the Center.
“We really wanted to reach out to campus, specifically to students and newer faculty at Mizzou who may not have been fully aware of all the amazing research we are doing here at the Thompson Center,” said Dr. Stephen Kanne, executive director and researcher at the Thompson Center. “We have had enjoyed partnerships with some of the amazing people in all areas of campus, such as engineering, health professions and veterinary medicine, which has led to some really revolutionary work. We want to continue to foster those partnerships and identify new collaborations which can help us advance the field of autism research even further.”
The fair featured short presentations by several Thompson Center researchers on their ongoing research into autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as provided networking opportunities for Thompson Center researchers and prospective research student and faculty partners.
“It was a great way to showcase the breadth of research occurring at the Thompson Center,” said Dr. Brad Ferguson, an assistant research professor in the MU School of Health Professions, MU School of Medicine and Thompson Center. “Connecting with researchers, clinicians, students, self-advocates, and community members has already resulted in new relationships. This was an excellent way to provide updates to the community on what kinds of research we’re engaged in, to receive feedback from the community, and to help people get involved in autism research at MU.”
“I was impressed with the diversity of disciplines, experience, and organizations that attended the research fair,” said Dr. Kim Bodner, a Thompson Center researcher and assistant clinical professor in the MU School of Health Professions. “I believe that collaboration among multiple fields is vital to advance research, especially research on adults and elderly with ASD. I was able to connect with providers and researchers at Harry S. Truman memorial Veterans’ Hospital, graduate students at University of Missouri, and made connections with members of the community and faculty that share my passion for supporting adults with ASD. I’m very much looking forward to collaborating in the future.”
“The research fair was a great success,” said Dr. Casey Clay, a Thompson Center researcher and an assistant professor in the MU College of Education. “It was incredible to be a part of new or younger faculty who have exciting lines of research. The breadth of the research presented was amazing. From gastrointestinal symptoms in autism to virtual reality behavior training.”
With the first research fair counted as a resounding success, Thompson Center leaders look forward to hosting future events to further grow the connection between the Center and campus experts. And they look forward even more to the groundbreaking discoveries that will surely continue to result from these partnerships.