Early Experience, Stress Neurobiology, and Prevention Science

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

A grant funding a network of scientists studying the effects of stressful early environments on the developing brain and interventions that can remediate these effects.

Project Overview

This grant supports a network of researchers who are interested in the effects of stressful early environments on the developing brain, and on the extent to which interventions can remediate these effects. The grant brings together scientists studying these issues in animals as well as humans. The specific neural systems under investigation include the limbic-HPA axis, components of the prefrontal cortex involved in executive functioning, and elements of the threat appraisal-response system. Network studies involving children to date have examined how these systems are impacted by different types of early stress, including neglect and other forms of maltreatment, as well as institutional rearing (among children adopted from overseas orphanages). In addition, we have been investigating whether improved behavioral functioning that is observed in connection with therapeutic interventions is concordant with changes in these neural systems. The grant is based at the University of Minnesota, and OSLC is a site focusing primarily on maltreated children in foster care.

Year Project Began: 2009
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health