201501 Multidisciplinary Approaches for Developmental Research with Individuals with DSD

A request for applications (RFA) is proposed entitled, “Multidisciplinary Approaches for Developmental Research with Individuals with DSD,” using the R01 Research Project, R03 Small Grant, and R21 Exploratory/Development grant mechanisms.


The purpose of this RFA is to facilitate research with individuals with disorders of sex development (DSD). DSD involves variations in chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical makeup that can have significant clinical and developmental issues. An NICHD-funded expert workshop held March 2014, and responses from the public to a Request for Information (RFI) identified four major research areas requiring evidence-based research that can inform researchers, clinicians, patients, and their families: 1) Improving the diagnosis of DSD; 2) genitosurgery/gender assignment outcomes; 3) psychosocial and functional impacts on development with DSD and; 4) improving clinical management of DSD. This initiative will stimulate research in all four areas.


Because there is so little research addressing the four identified research gap areas, a wide range of approaches is necessary and all approaches require multidisciplinary effort. Of particular interest are applications to study novel genomics for increasing diagnostic accuracy, short-term and long-term physical and quality of life outcomes of newer surgical techniques, social, cognitive, emotional and gender identity developmental impacts of the DSD condition and/or hormone treatment, impact on families, clinical trials for hormone supplementation or replacement treatment, development of effective methods of communication with patients and families at diagnosis, during surgical/gender assignment decisions, and during clinical management.


The objective of this RFA is to develop a scientific basis for maximizing developmental outcomes for the relatively rare conditions of DSD and to create a consortium of researchers for collaboration and data sharing. Furthermore, it is expected that the research generated from this initiative will have significant import for aspects of other chronic childhood disorders and for our understanding of genetic and neuroendocrine influences on brain and behavior development.

Program Contact

Lisa Freund, Ph.D.
Child Development and Behavior Branch


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