The developing brain

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From infancy to early adulthood, humans undergo massive change in cognitive ability, personality and social functioning. Disruptions to normal development range from the mild to catastrophic, and include autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, Fragile X and William's syndrome.

These neurodevelopmental disorders often include attention, memory and learning difficulties, and are related to a range of negative outcomes, including poorer educational attainment in childhood and adolescence, and lowered socio-economic status in adulthood.

Our researchers are tackling neurodevelopmental disorders on many fronts.

For example, one study is charting for the first time the strengths and challenges across a life span that face people carrying the genetic abnormality that may lead to Fragile-X syndrome in their children.

Other studies are investigating the genetic underpinnings of ASD and ADHD with the hope of identifying novel risk mechanisms and targets for drug development. Still others are developing interventions that will help children who have trouble focusing attention due to conditions such as Down syndrome.