Associate Professor Sonia Minnes, PhD, is the recipient of the 2017 Patricia Rodier Mid-Career Award in Research and Mentoring from The Teratology Society. The award was presented Teratology Society’s Annual Meeting on June 25, 2017, in Denver, where Dr. Minnes presented “Project Newborn: What We Have Learned from 20 Years of Research on Prenatal Cocaine Exposure?”

The Patricia Rodier Mid-Career Award in Research and Mentoring is given by the Teratology Society to recognize individuals who conduct successful independent research in neurobehavioral teratology, birth defects, or other fields involving the central nervous system. The recipient of this award must also show commitment to mentorship of students, postdoctoral fellows, and young investigators. The society cited Dr. Minnes’ work with Project Newborn and its impactful findings on the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure.

Dr. Minnes has a Secondary Appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Department of Environmental Health Sciences. She has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology and a Doctorate in Social Welfare from the Mandel School. The majority of her research focuses on the study of child development, and she is currently the principle investigator of Project Newborn at Case Western Reserve University.

Project Newborn is a longitudinal study that began in 1994 at Case Western Reserve University to examine negative health outcomes for both babies and mothers during the growing nationwide crack cocaine epidemic. With Minnes as project coordinator, researchers began to track the growth and development of over 400 babies born at MetroHealth Medical Center. Half of the babies born in this study had been exposed to cocaine before birth. The babies were all tracked throughout childhood and adolescence for adverse behaviors such as substance abuse and anti-social behavior. In 2015, Project Newborn was given a $2.5 million dollar grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to continue research over the next four years. Now that the original children in the Project Newborn Study are adults, this grant will allow researchers to study the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure during adulthood.

The Teratology Society is a multinational organization focused on understanding and preventing hazards that effect development. Members of this society include public health professionals, epidemiologists, researchers and clinicians studying birth defects, reproduction, and disorders of developmental origin.

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