Navigation Links
NIH awards UCI $10 million to study early-life origins of adolescent mental disorders
Date:6/11/2013

Irvine, Calif., June 11, 2013 With $10 million in new federal funding, UC Irvine researchers will study how maternal signals and care before and after birth may increase an infant's vulnerability to adolescent cognitive and emotional problems, such as risky behaviors, addiction and depression.

Led by child neurologist and neuroscientist Dr. Tallie Z. Baram, the UC Irvine team has received a five-year Silvio O. Conte Center grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The funding program brings together researchers with diverse expertise to gain new knowledge and improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.

The grant will support the creation of the Conte Center on Brain Programming in Mental Disorders at UC Irvine.

"We appreciate that the National Institute of Mental Health strategic plan recognizes that most neuropsychiatric disorders have origins early in life," said Baram, the Danette "Dee Dee" Shepard Chair in Neurological Studies. "This complex problem requires a multidisciplinary approach that involves both animal and human research. Investigators at UC Irvine have distinguished themselves in this area, and we believe that with the Conte Center funding, we can make major contributions to our understanding of this issue."

A large body of work has suggested that signals conveyed by a mother during fetal growth and the first few years after birth influence a baby's development and cognitive and emotional functioning. The UC Irvine team suspects that the patterns or rhythms of maternal signals, rather than their general quantity or quality, are key.

In neurobiology, it's well known that patterns of signals influence the function of single neurons. Recent research at UC Irvine suggests that patterns also matter on a "macro" scale of the entire brain. Specifically, animal studies have shown that consistent and predictable maternal signals enhance cognitive and emotional development. In contrast, fragmented and unpredictable maternal care might have the opposite effect. Additionally, a study that tracked a cohort of mothers during pregnancy and then with their babies for a few years seemed to confirm this idea.

To connect these discoveries and their impact on adolescent cognitive behaviors, UC Irvine's Conte Center on Brain Programming in Mental Disorders will combine neurobiological and molecular research with animals, behavioral research with children, and neuroimaging and computational statistical analyses. Its goal is to create a comprehensive picture of maternal influences, childhood cognitive and emotional development, and brain structure to help identify children who may be vulnerable to adolescent mental health disorders and to help establish more effective treatments.

Center collaborators include the following:

  • Baram will investigate in rodent models how brain cells recognize patterns of maternal signals and how this influences the cellular machinery to change the expression of important genes throughout life.

  • Dr. Curt Sandman, professor emeritus of psychiatry & human behavior, and Elysia Poggi Davis, associate professor of psychiatry & human behavior, will examine the effect of frequent changes in maternal mood, including anxiety and depression, on the fetus during pregnancy. They will also track mothers and their infants after birth to determine whether inconsistency between fetal and neonatal maternal signals contributes significantly to later emotional and cognitive development. Davis will gauge stability in the patterns and sequences of maternal care in infancy and childhood and the impact of these patterns on brain structure and cognitive and emotional vulnerabilities during adolescence.

  • Steven Small, professor and chair of neurology, and Ana Solodkin, associate professor of anatomy & neurobiology, will use sophisticated imaging methods to reveal changes in brain structure, connectivity and function caused by patterns of maternal signals. This imaging will be conducted in parallel in children and rodent models, bridging the associational studies possible in humans and direct causal studies in rats and mice.

  • Hal Stern, dean of the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences, will direct approaches for creating mathematical cross-species models of fragmented and unpredictable maternal signals. He will explore the relationship between early development and subsequent vulnerabilities. His group also will provide statistical support for each of the projects, with an emphasis on integrating results of different data types (imaging, genetic and behavioral) at different ages to enhance the understanding of how adolescent mental health disorders develop.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. U-M Water Center awards $570K in Great Lakes restoration grants
2. MARC Travel Awards announced for the ENDO 2013 95th Annual Meeting
3. MARC Travel Awards announced for the SDB 2013 72nd Annual Meeting
4. Center for Clinical and Translational Science awards new pilot grants
5. MARC travel awards announced for the 2013 60th Annual ACSM Meeting & 4th World Congress
6. Penn State Hass avocado research poster wins American Society For Nutrition Annual Awards
7. MARC travel awards announced for EB 2013
8. MARC travel awards announced for 2013 GSA Drosophila Research Conference
9. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards nearly $4 million in new NARSAD grants
10. The 2013 HFSP postdoctoral fellowship awards
11. AAOS awards recognize innovative orthopaedic research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... -- First quarter 2016:   , Revenues ... first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% ... and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per ... from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook ... 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  ,      ... gait biometrics market is expected to grow at ... Gait analysis generates multiple variables such ... compute factors that are not or cannot be ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... Florida , March 29, 2016 ... the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased ... in ink used in a variety of writing instruments, ... Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange ... forensic analysis of the DNA. Bill ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... 15mm, machines such as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end ... height is the height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics ... development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class ... Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting ... significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a ... ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its ... in New York City . ... students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during ... , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
Breaking Biology Technology: