In October 2016, GW installed renowned neuroscientist Dr. Kevin Pelphrey, director of George Washington University’s Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, as the inaugural Carbonell Family Professor in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
The endowed faculty position was funded through a $2.5 million gift from the Nelson A. and Michele Carbonell Family Foundation. GW Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell Jr., BS ’85, and his wife, Michele, are the parents of child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Dr. Pelphrey is the recipient of several grants, including one from the National Institutes of Health to mine the conundrum of girls with autism. He and the researchers affiliated with the GW Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute continue to work to understand brain functions at the root of autism, provide high-quality clinical services to individuals with autism and address issues to help create better policies for the ASD community, particularly young people with autism transitioning to adulthood.
“[We] share a lot of different connections. Probably the most important one for this position is that we are both parents of children with autism. There is a link there that is hard to describe…you have a shared vision and you know what needs to be done.”