Brain Development & Adversity
Characterizing Effects of Inequality on Brain Development & Strengthening Resilience against Adversity
When: Tuesday, October 4th, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Where: Faculty Club, Heyns Room.
Intellectual Scope: “It’s not that teachers or schools are horrible. Rather, the problem is that students with an achievement gap also have an income gap, a health-care gap, a housing gap, a family gap and a safety gap, just to name a few. If we truly want to improve educational outcomes, these are the real issues that must be addressed.” - Open letter from top NYC public school teachers to Governor Cuomo (February 2, 2015, reported in the Washington Post)
It is increasingly clear that human brain development is impacted by socioeconomic status. As a group of researchers, we are seeking to understand how negative environmental factors influence the development of the parts of the brain that are critical for learning, reasoning, planning, decision-making, and self-regulation. When these functions are altered by exposure to adversity it may well lower the odds that an individual will have the necessary cognitive and socioemotional skills to lift herself or himself out of poverty.
We plan to work together to compare the impact of different forms of adversity in animal models and develop and test interventions for human subjects informed by neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience and public health.
Welcome and Introduction from Silvia Bunge
Part 1. Identifying how adversity in different forms gets under the skin using animal models
09:20-09:40am Linda Wilbrecht: Animal models enable experimental study of adverse experience, cognitive development, substance abuse risk, and sensitive periods for interventions.
09:40-10:00am Lance Kriegsfeld: Circadian rhythms and endocrinology play a major role in health and disease.
10:00-10:20am Daniela Kaufer: Stress and markers of vulnerability.
10:20-10:30am Coffee Break
Part 2. Human brain development in adverse circumstances and intervention strategies
10:30-10:55am Julianna Deardorff: Effects of adversity and earlier puberty on behavioral development, substance use and mental health.
10:55-11:20am Silvia Bunge: Effects of early adversity on human brain development and promising intervention strategies.
11:20-12:00pm Panel to discuss major unanswered questions/future research directions
- How does circadian disruption, food insecurity, maternal neglect and experience of aggression impact brain development differently? Are there common biological and neurological pathways that are altered when the environment is fragmented and unpredictable? Do these variables cause brain development to take pathological course or can a case be made for adaptive developmental plasticity (such as earlier maturation)?
- Are there interventions that work to reverse specific or common effects of adversity? When should interventions best be timed (pre- or post-puberty)? Which interventions are most cost-effective?
- What is our hope for the future? Our vision for working together?
Please register below to attend the forum: Characterizing Effects of Inequality on Brain Development & Strengthening Resilience against Adversity