Developmental Neurogenomics Unit
Armin Raznahan, MD PhD, Chief
The Developmental Neurogenomics Unit (DNU) is dedicated to better understanding the biology of childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorders in ways that might ultimately help to improve disease prediction, detection and treatment. Together with our collaborators, we work towards this goal in two mutually-informative ways.
First, we use large-scale longitudinal neuroimaging datasets to study the architecture of brain development in healthy volunteers. By modeling how neuroimaging measures of the human brain vary with age, sex and behavior in health, we hope to advance basic developmental neuroscience while also providing a data-driven way of selecting neuroimaging measures that should be prioritized for study in atypically developing groups.
Second, we use a “genetics-first” strategy to study the relationship between atypical brain development and neuropsychiatric symptoms. This effort involves gathering “deep-phenotypic” data (spanning measures of gene expression, brain structure/function, psychophysiology, cognition and behavior) in diverse genetic disorders which all increase risk for neuropsychiatric impairment. Guided by knowledge of typical development, we harness these clinical data to empirically dissect the diverse biological pathways that can contribute to the emergence of neuropsychiatric syndromes.
Cross-cutting themes of special interest within our Unit include sex-differences, allometry, and structure-function relationships within the central nervous system.