Our Mission

The Conte Center @ UCI addresses the complex developmental mechanisms contributing to resilience or vulnerabilities to mental illnesses throughout life. It focuses on probing the impact of early life experiences including early life adversity to the maturation of emotional and cognitive brain circuits, addressing the underlying processes at molecular, cellular, circuit and computational/modeling levels of analysis.

We are striving to understand how the constantly evolving environment that infants and young children experience in our modern and chaotic world influences the structural and functional maturation of the brain. These changes, in turn, may increase the vulnerability of children, adolescents, and adults to several mental illnesses.  We investigate if chaos and unpredictability of parental and environmental signals to the developing brain impact its normal maturation processes.

To enable discoveries and enhance their impact, UC Irvine’s Conte Center includes multidisciplinary teams studying cohorts of individuals from fetal life to adulthood, including military veterans.  We employ cutting edge tools in experimental models, including epigenomics, viral-transgenic mapping and manipulation as well as in vivo imaging across species.  These are integrated via our neuroimaging and computational cores.

The Center's mission is to enhance and share its discoveries by serving as a focus of research and a magnet for trainees through its monthly gatherings, seminar series, symposia and outreach activities.