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Researcher | Research Overview

My overall research goals are to better understand neurobiological mechanisms of social, communication, and behavioral challenges in Down syndrome, to improve diagnosis and characterization of neurodevelopmental profiles, and to explore educational strategies and behavioral and medical interventions for individuals with Down syndrome.

I have a broad background in clinical and educational research. At the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I studied special education theory and policy, as well as educational research methods. My research involves characterization of medical, developmental, and behavioral profiles of children with Down syndrome, and understanding neurological differences in children with and without comorbid neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder. I also study educational, behavioral, and medical interventions to improve cognition and developmental outcomes. 

The Boston Children's Hospital Down Syndrome Program research team works hand in hand with our clinical care team in our mission to help all individuals with Down syndrome reach their fullest potential. Our studies aim to shed light on brain and behavior development in individuals with Down syndrome by looking at genetics, neural pathways, and biomarkers that may help predict outcomes. In particular, we focus on cognition, learning and memory, as well as neurodevelopmental and behavioral challenges that commonly co-occur in individuals with Down syndrome. We are also committed to developing and studying valid and reliable diagnostic tools, and research aimed at exploring new educational, behavioral, and medical interventions which may improve overall functioning. Through our multi-center and multidisciplinary efforts, we also aim to understand the developmental trajectory and impact of medical issues in individuals with Down syndrome, and to explore potential interventions that may improve physical and mental health, and neurodevelopment. 

Learn more about the Down Syndrome Program at Boston Children's Hospital.

Clinical Trials:

Our program will be involved in upcoming clinical drug trials to investigate safety and effectiveness of new drugs that may improve cognition in individuals with Down syndrome:

  • Neurobehavioral Phenotype study: This is a chart review of medical, neurodevelopmental, and behavioral profiles of children with Down syndrome (DS) who have received neuropsychological testing at Boston Children's Hospital: this investigation is aimed at identifying patterns and factors associated with comorbid medical, neurodevelopmental and behavioral conditions diagnosed in children with Down syndrome.  Thus far, we have discovered factors that contribute to educational placement and likelihood of inclusion settings in individuals with Down syndrome. 
  • Longitudinal Down syndrome Study: multi-site initiative to gather health information about medical comorbidities in Down syndrome. This study was designed to track health and medical history in individuals with Down syndrome across their lives, with health information gathered from existing medical records.

Researcher | Research Background

Dr. Nicole Baumer is a neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDD) pediatrician / child neurologist at Boston Children's Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Baumer completed her undergraduate studies in biology and psychology at Skidmore College. She received her Medical Degree cum laude from Harvard Medical School. She trained in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, and completed a fellowship in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Baumer also has a Master's degree in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was a fellow in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND) program at BCH/Harvard Medical School.  In January 2015, Dr. Baumer became Co-Director of the Down Syndrome Program at Boston Children's, where she has been seeing patients since 2011.  Dr. Baumer has training in both child neurology and developmental and behavioral pediatrics and is board certified in child neurology and pediatrics.  Dr. Baumer has an older sister with Down syndrome.  

Dr. Baumer sees patients in the Neurology Department and in the Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children's Hospital.  She specializes in the treatment of individuals with Down syndrome, intellectual disability, autism, and neurobehavioral disorders.  

Researcher | Publications