The projects of this revised Conte Center integrate human and rodent-model studies to explore the role of fragmented and/or unpredictable early-life experiences in increasing the vulnerability of developing individuals to emotional and cognitive disorders.
Specific aims for the Center characterize and quantify fragmented and unpredictable maternal signals across species and examine the impact of such signals on outcome trajectories;use imaging and molecular analyses to explore mechanisms by which fragmented and unpredictable maternal signals promote vulnerabilities to emotional and cognitive problems;and create an integrated and predictive model for the contribution of fragmented maternal signals to emotional and cognitive vulnerabilities during adolescence. Guided by the Reviewers'constructive suggestions, we provide in this revised application more specific and detailed information about the BCDM Core. The primary goals of the Biostatistics, Computation and Data Management Core are: (a) enhance the innovation of the Center by developing novel and biologically relevant measures of fragmentation and unpredictability;(b) provide data management support to the various Center projects and cores that enable coherent analyses;and (c) enhance the impact of the Center by collaborating with individual projects and cores to support their analyses and, importantly, coordinate the integration of results across projects to develop clinically relevant predictive models. In essence, the Core will work with Center investigators to explore a variety of measures for characterizing early-life sensory signals, correlate those signals with behavioral, functional, and imaging outcomes, explore the longitudinal consequences in a human cohort, and coordinate data management and data integration (working with the Imaging Core).
Mental disorders pose a profoundly important health problem. These disorders are generally believed to arise from an interaction of genetic and environmental influences during sensitive developmental periods. The projects of the Center explore the hypothesis that fragmented patterns early in life promote vulnerabilities to such disorders. The Biostatistics, Computation, and Data Management Core plays a key role in defining fragmentation across species, analyzing the data that are collected and integrating it aiming to come up with ways to predict who is at risk.
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