The Clinical Translational Core (CTC) of the University of North Carolina Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) is a highly successful core that catalyzes key resources to provide two classes of services: (1) the Participant Registries (PR) serve to maximize recruitment of research participants in IDDRC research; and (2) the Brain & Behavior Measurement Laboratory (BBML) assists UNC IDDRC investigators with multi-modal characterization of brain structure and function and behavior to advance the discovery of early risk markers, brain and behavior mechanisms, targets for therapeutics, and outcome metrics for assessing the impact of interventions. In this application, 39 projects from 27 IDDRC investigators are proposed for core access. The BBML further assists investigators with the design, measurement, and analysis of clinical neuroscience studies, and provides assistance with the development of clinical teams. The structure of the PR and BBML promotes cross-disciplinary interactions critical to maximizing the potential to understand the pathogenesis and treatment of IDDs.
The Specific Aims of the CTC are: (1) to maximize recruitment of research participants for clinical studies; (2) to develop and provide access to tools and services that maximize the ability of IDDRC investigators to conduct cutting-edge clinical studies of brain and behavior measurement in IDD research; and (3) to facilitate translational IDD research by facilitating linkages between human and preclinical studies and the promotion of interdisciplinary research. The overarching objective of the CTC is to support clinical translational research that advances our understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of IDDs. The core catalyzes translational IDD research at UNC by providing key support and services, ranging from consultation on the initiation of interdisciplinary projects, to supporting the formation of interdisciplinary teams, assisting in the design of complex experimental protocols, providing access to a large well- characterized pool of participants, to desiging custom-built and project-specific innovative neuroimage analysis tools. By providing access to resources and expertise in IDD research, the CTC integrates cutting-edge cognitive, behavioral, and clinical neuroscience methods to capitalize on our strengths in imaging and, in particular, early brain development. This integration of recruitment, phenotyping, study design, and brain imaging tools and resources in this CTC has catalyzed translational IDD research at UNC. Indeed, the development of novel image analysis tools customized for infant brains, early in the history of this core, has transformed the field?s understanding of infant brain development. The tools developed by this core have played key roles in translational research examining early risk markers of, brain markers of exposure to bio- psycho-social adversity, and characterizing the impact of interventions. 1