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Human Genetics Branch

Human Brain Development in Health Study

Join a Study

If you would like to learn more about becoming part of our ongoing studies of brain development in health and sex chromosome aneuploidy, please contact Jonathan Blumenthal, MA, at 301-435-4516 or

Human Brain Development in Health Study

This ongoing study within the Developmental Neurogenomics Unit aims to understand how brain structure and function change over the course of healthy human brain development. It is a continuation of one of the largest and longest-running neuroimaging studies of human brain development in history, which was first-started in the 1990’s by Dr. Judith Rapoport (Chief of the NIMH Child Psychiatry Branch), and subsequently led by Dr. Jay Giedd (now Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCSD). Over 700 volunteers have now become part of this unique effort to map the human brain, and together contributed over 2000 structural magnetic resonance imaging brain scans spanning ages 3 and 30 years.

Recent analyses within this study have addressed the following themes:

  1. Understanding how different properties of the cortical sheet interact to shape developmental changes in cortical volume.
  2. Generating fine-scale maps of regional cortical and subcortical development across adolescence.
  3. Linking inter-regional correlations in cortical thickness to patterns of coordinated brain function and development, as well as inter-individual differences in cognitive ability.

We are now expanding the study in two important ways. First, we are re-contacting people who were initially enrolled in the study in childhood or adolescence, and inviting them to return for a follow-up visit in adulthood. Second, we have started an updated “next-generation” phase of the study that is recruiting a new longitudinal cohort of children and adolescents.

For further information, please contact Jonathan Blumenthal, MA, at 301-435-4516 or