Major depressive disorder (MOD) is the fourth leading causes of morbidity and mortality world-wide, with women having twice the incidence than men. Thus, understanding sex differences in MOD will have important implications for public health and development of sex-specific treatment strategies to alleviate disability and ultimately for prevention. We are proposing a translational SCOR to integrate scientists from basic, clinical neuroscience and population-level perspectives to address the question of why women are at higher risk for MOD than men. An underlying premise is that sex differences in MOD are initiated during fetal development. We propose a unique design in which we will integrate findings from three studies (human invivo and two animal model studies) to investigate hypotheses regarding how adverse maternal-fetal hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) programming during mid-gestation and genetic polymorphisms will disrupt normal HPA circuitry development in the context of the sexual differentiation of the brain and thereby have important implications for understanding the vulnerability for sex differences in MOD in adult brain abnormalities and endocrine dysfunction. To accomplish the integration of our diverse group of investigators, the Administrative Core will provide an infrastructure to accomplish our goals, under the direction of the PI, Co-Pi and administrative staff.
The aims of this Core are the following: 1) To coordinate the activities of the SCOR, e.g. provide logistical support, such as setting up meetings and conference calls, monitoring ongoing operational issues, and maintaining connections with the Scientific Advisory Board;2) To administer budgets, e.g. monitor financial expenditures and insure fiscal responsibilities;3) To disseminate knowledge, e.g. coordinate publications, develop a website, organize conferences, publicize opportunities for trainees. The SCOR provides an excellent mechanism for the proposed projects, since they are a set of inextricably linked interdisciplinary studies focused on the identification of mechanisms involved in understanding sex differences in MDD. Given the complexities of conducting cross-institution and cross-discipline studies, it is important to have an administrative infrastructure to """"""""bind"""""""" and monitor ongoing activities, provide fiscal administration for the SCOR as a whole, and be a vehicle for dissemination of knowledge resulting from the SCOR to the scientific and medical communities, policy makers, and the public.
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