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The human brain undergoes massive developmental change from infancy to early adulthood, particularly in the first 1000 days from conception. While brain development largely follows a genetically determined program, it is also dependent and influenced by environmental factors. Disrupting programmed brain development processes greatly increases the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, marked by failure to attain appropriate cognitive, communication, academic, social and emotional milestones.
Here at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, we have leading researchers investigating the mechanisms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders and using this information to develop new interventions to enable thousands of Australian children to reach their full potential. Neurodevelopmental and clinical disorders that we study include Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, Learning Disorders, Fragile X, William’s Syndrome, and preterm birth.
Our approach and methodology is strongly multidisciplinary. We integrate knowledge from genetics, pharmacology and behavioural, cognitive and developmental neuroscience with that of clinical psychology and psychiatry to enrich our understanding of developmental processes. We employ cutting-edge technologies such as electroencephalography (EEG), oculomotor neurophysiology, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and structural and functional brain imaging to link brain and behaviour.
Our strong neuroscience focus combined with our rich clinical research ensures that our discoveries are relevant and translatable while being grounded in the biology of the disorders that we study.
We are making a real difference to neurodevelopment in Victoria, Australia and, potentially, the world.
Have a look through our five key capabilities: TALI Attention Training and Screening, Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBES), Genetics of Neurodevelopment Disorders, Sub-typing ADHD and ASD, and Paediatric Cognitive Training.
Each year, around 310,000 children start school for the first time in Australia. Of these, an estimated 13% – that’s 40,300 children – have attention problems that will negatively impact their learning in the classroom. We are making a real difference.
The VIBeS cohort is one of the world’s largest and oldest ongoing prospective longitudinal neuroimaging and neuropsychological study of very preterm and term infants, helping to understand the factors contributing to cognitive, academic, behavioural and emotional challenges.
We engage in gene discovery for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
We are trialling promising cognitive training programs targeting functions such as working memory and inhibitory control that, when used in the home or school, could improve cognition, learning and behavioural functioning in childhood.
Our research program is delivered in collaboration with industry and clinical partners to advance new ideas, exciting technologies and discoveries.