Our success in understanding how early socio-emotional relationships impact on subsequent brain-behavioral development will depend to a great degree on our assessment tools. To this end a second major effort of this initiative is focused on the development of tools that permit one to forge a linkage between brain and behavior.
It is our intent to develop a class of tools that range from molecular to molar, and that are geared to particular study groups, for example, normally developing children, children with disabilities (e.g., autism), rodents, non-human primates, and so forth.
At the molecular level, our studies focus on animals and perhaps human autopsy specimens that have been equated for age and developmental history. Here the latest advances in the tools of molecular biology prove indispensable (e.g., gene knockouts; high density arrays for gene sequencing; use of viruses to perturb normal patterns of gene and protein expression).
Moving more to …