In this set of applications, we propose to initiate a new Learning Disabilities Research Hub focusing initially on high risk for mathematics failure. We proposed to situate this new Hub within an existing strong infrastructure for pediatric neurobehavioral and imaging research, the Pediatric Neurocognition, Imaging, and Genetics (PING) data resource. PING infrastructure provides many important advantages for building a new cross disciplinary and multiple-investigator program, as it has already brought together a strong team of behavioral, clinical, imaging, computational, and genetics investigators as a closely integrated team, and most importantly has attracted a very talented group of young investigators and graduate students focused on the problems addressed in the proposed research. A unifying theme of the studies that our team has proposed is the notion that math failure, and perhaps academic failure more broadly, emerges gradually through interactions of putative early conceptual weaknesses, attributable in some cases to poor functioning and anomalous neural architecture in specific neural systems, with increasing reward-based biases that contribute, additively or non-additively, to suppression of the normal learning trajectory. Consistent with this theme we refer to our proposed research hub as the Roles of Emotion and Choice (REaCh) in Learning Disabilities Research Hub (LDRH). The proposed REaCh Hub has 3 components: a new research project to investigate key questions about learning and the neural architecture during early development in children at high risk for math failure, and two cores. The Administrative Core proposal describes the management plan for the new Hub and the PING infrastructure that will be adapted for the new studies; and focuses on a nested mentoring plan for ensuring close interaction between trainees at different levels with mid-level and senior investigators within focused workgroups. The assets of the Core for within-Hub and extra-Hub data sharing are also described. A Developmental Infrastructure Core proposal describes the administration of a small grant program to support novel work within the Hub by junior investigators, trainees, and investigators from disciplines outside of the original REaCh LDRH group.

Public Health Relevance

A new Learning Disabilities Research Hub would be created to bring scientists with different kinds of expertise together to study learning disabilities, focusing initially on risk for math failure in young children. The scientists would study learning and brain development in children and focus specifically on the importance of the children's emotional responses to mathematical information.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DRG-H (52))
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Mann Koepke, Kathy M
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University of California San Diego
Schools of Arts and Sciences
La Jolla
United States
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