Project 1 Summary
A number of brain problems, including depression and learning/memory difficulty, arise in adolescence and affect one in five American teenagers. While we know that early-life experience might contribute to the emergence of these problems, we know little about the nature of the responsible experiences, how they enter brain cells and how they lead to adolescent problems. The Conte Center @ UCI capitalizes on a unique, large cohort of mothers and children, followed from prior to their births, to observe how patterns of maternal signals and care contribute to resilience and vulnerability to cognitive and emotional problems during adolescence. In parallel, in rodent models, cutting-edge epigenetic and cellular/ molecular methods will help figure out how brain cells change their function in response to disorganized maternal signals. Sophisticated functional and structural brain imaging will be carried out in both children and rodents, and the resulting brain maps will help translate discoveries made in rodents to our understanding of human health and disease.
You can read the Project 1 Technical Description for a more detailed explanation.