Ania Majewska, PhD, professor of Neuroscience, joins John Foxe, PhD, as co-director of the University of Rochester Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (UR-IDDRC). Majewska is also the director of the Cell and Molecular Imaging core of the UR-IDDRC. Her research is focused on developmental neuroscience, investigating the interactions between microglia in the brain’s immune system and neurons during development. Recently, her research showed that the toxin TCDD, a pollutant that humans are exposed to primarily through the consumption of meat, dairy products, and fish, can cause the brain’s immune system to go awry later in life, potentially damaging important brain circuits and potentially contributing to disorders like autism and ADHD.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Dr. Majewska in this role,” said Foxe. “She is a leader in IDD research at the Medical Center. Her research is transforming what we understand about the developing brain. Coupled with her storied history of being an outstanding mentor, she will help continue to support and leverage the IDD research underway across the University and Medical Center.”
The University of Rochester is one of 16 institutions to receive the IDDRC recognition and one of only 8 with the “trifecta” of NIH awards related to IDD, which includes the established University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) – with a focus on training and service – and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) – with a focus on education.
Majewska was the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) 2022 Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship awardee for her dedication to superior mentorship and training in neuroscience research. In 2021, she was recognized for her outstanding mentorship – receiving the Peter Shrager Award for her successful leadership of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, dedication to science, and compassion. She was also named the Outstanding Graduate Program Director in 2015 and 2020 by the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and was one of the founding members of the Neuroscience Diversity Commission. Majewska arrived at the Medical Center in 2005 as an assistant professor of the then Neurobiology and Anatomy department after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at MIT.