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Melissa Raspa

Melissa Raspa

Senior Director, GenOmics and Translational Research Center


PhD, Early Childhood and Special Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
MA, Educational Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
BA, Psychology, Franklin & Marshall College

Melissa Raspa is a Senior Scientist and Director of the GenOmics and Translational Research Center. The center comprises staff who span the translational research continuum, from discovery ‘omics to clinical research and the implementation of best practice in public health or other systems and the community. Her research focuses on children and adults with neurodevelopmental or rare genetic disorders and their families. 

Much of Dr. Raspa’s work has examined early identification of rare genetic conditions, described the clinical phenotype of these disorders, and assessed the impact on families. She has conducted large-scale pilot studies in newborn screening, provided technical assistance to state newborn screening programs, and conducted newborn screening program evaluations. In addition, she has developed and evaluated the utility of outcome measures for rare genetic conditions for use in clinical trials and developed disease-specific registries to conduct observational studies. Dr. Raspa also has conducted work in health communication and disability, including developing materials for parents of young children to recognize the early signs of developmental delay and adapting health care materials, such as those related to participating in clinical trials, for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Dr. Raspa began working at RTI in 2005. She currently serves as Principal Investigator, Project Director, or co-Investigator on multiple projects with funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and pharmaceutical companies. Over the years, she also has collaborated with patient advocacy groups and partnered with patient advocates. Dr. Raspa has received RTI’s Highly Published Author and Highly Cited Author Award every year since 2011 as well as the President’s Award.

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