The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has granted researchers at the University of California San Diego approximately $ 30 million over five years to expand and deepen longitudinal studies of the developing brain in children.
In particular, the funding will accelerate an ambitious effort to better understand how young brains and minds develop from infancy to early childhood, and how some are influenced by a variety of environmental factors.
Announced last year by the NIH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the HEALthy Brain and Child Development Study (HBCD) focuses on pregnancy and early childhood and how various exposures such as prenatal substance exposure, trauma, environmental pollutants, and positive environments affect children’s long-term health .
Specific goals include optimizing brain imaging technologies and protocols, identifying key developmental windows for the brain, and learning how to better predict and prevent future mental health and behavioral problems associated with environmental exposure.
This is a groundbreaking study of normal and atypical brain development from day 0 to age 10 in a large sample of approximately 8,000 families.
Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics, UC San Diego School of Medicine and Professor, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, UC San Diego
Chambers is along with Charles A. Nelson, III, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Neuroscience and Psychology at Harvard Medical School, Principal Investigator of the administrative core of the statewide study.
Anders Dale, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and Radiology and Director of the Center for Multimodal Imaging and Genetics at UC San Diego, will co-direct the HBCD Data Center with Christopher Smyser, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Damien Fair, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.
UC San Diego will serve as the administrative core of the HBCD study through the Center for Human Development and will manage 25 study centers across the country, including one at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Gretchen Bandoli, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego, and Sheila Gahagan, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics and Pediatrician of Developmental Behavioral Therapy at UC San Diego Health, are Co-Principal Investigators for the San Diego location.
Specifically, the HBCD study will be adapted to data currently being collected as part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, launched in 2015, to assess the brain development of more than 12,000 children for at least 10 years, starting in old age, record 9-10. UC San Diego is a leading institution in this.
The HBCD study is led by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and funded by 10 institutes and offices from the National Institutes of Health and the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative. Announced in 2018, the NIH HEAL Initiative aims to accelerate scientific solutions to contain the national public health opioid crisis and funds hundreds of projects nationwide to better understand, treat, and manage pain and the management of opioid abuse and addiction to enhance.
In 2019, the NIH provided $ 945 million to fund research programs and projects through the HEAL initiative. Last year, phase one of the HBCD study received 29 awards totaling $ 15.8 million. In phase two, 27 awards were presented with a total value of 37.1 million US dollars.
University of California San Diego