NEWS | May 20, 2014

MIND Institute celebrates 22q at the Zoo Worldwide Awareness Day


The UC Davis MIND Institute on May 18 participated in 22q at the Zoo Worldwide Awareness Day to increase knowledge of chromosome 22q11.2 deletion/duplication syndrome. However, this time the zoo came to the MIND Institute, which hosted 20 families of children with the genetic disorder. The event was organized by the MIND Institute 22q11.2 Research and Clinical Center, directed by Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Tony J. Simon.

Zoo Outreach Coordinator Lara Kirkendall with a rainbow boa at the MIND Institute. Zoo Outreach Coordinator Lara Kirkendall with a rainbow boa at the MIND Institute.

"Every year we are thrilled to host our family meeting, where we get to share our newest understanding of 22q11.2 with the families, learn from them and have them inform and help each other," Simon said.

"There is always a really fun kids camp for all ages where the kids get to play and allow their parents to fully participate in the meeting. This year, Carrie Heran, one of our strongest supporters, advocates and parents, had the idea of combining 22q at the Zoo with our meeting, and I think it brought the best of both events together," he said.

The day’s events were mirrored in 22q Worldwide Awareness Day activities throughout the globe, spearheaded by the International 22q11.2 Foundation, Inc. In addition to the zoo visitors, the MIND Institute event featured activities for children such as face painting and seminars for their parents.

Chromosome 22q.11.2 deletion syndrome is a congenital defect that affects at least 1 in 4,000 live births, 1 in 68 children with congenital heart disease and 5 to 8 percent of children born with cleft palate. Individuals with the disorder can also experience feeding, swallowing and breathing problems, learning disabilities, hearing loss, and cognitive and speech delays. No two people with the condition are alike.

To learn more about chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, visit the UC Davis MIND Institute Cognitive Analysis and Brain Imaging Laboratory (CABIL) website or send an e-mail to

The UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif., was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where families, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers work together toward a common goal: researching causes, treatments and eventual preventions and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome. More information about the institute and its Distinguished Lecturer Series, including previous presentations in this series, is available on the Web at