The award is the highest honour bestowed by the U.S. government for outstanding scientists and engineers in the early part of their independent research careers. The award recognizes Dr. McCandliss' research into the biological basis for language development and dysfunction in developmental disorders such as dyslexia. Using insights of cognitive neuroscience, including brain imaging, he has helped develop methods to alleviate reading disabilities. Dr. McCandliss was the sole nominee for this award from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), and one of only twelve scientists selected across all branches of the National Institutes for Health (NIH), all of whom were also honoured at a separate ceremony led by NIH Director Elias Zerhouni. Nationwide, a total of 56 awards were granted, representing nine government agencies spanning all fields of science and engineering.

Dr. McCandliss is also the co-founder of Reading Works, a program he uses to help New York City public elementary school students who are struggling with basic reading skills. This program uses computer technology to teach reading skills based on insights from cognitive neuroscience research. Children involved in the program, which encompasses 20 40-minute sessions over a period of several months, demonstrate average improvements of 1.2 grade levels in reading skills.

The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, established in 1996, honors the most promising researchers in the nation within their fields. Selection for the award is based on innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and community service.

MEDICA.de; Source: Cornell University