Cambridge researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, has secured £1.3m from the Templeton World Charity Foundation to explore how early life adversity shapes human brain development. The team of scientists, comprising Duncan Astle (PI), Danyal Akarca, Sofia Carozza, Petra Vértes, Varun Warrier and Ed Bullmore, will build computational models of the developing nervous system that they can deploy to better understand how brain organisation is shaped by early adversity.
The environment in which children grow up has a critical impact on their later flourishing. Indeed, it is likely that the brain as an adaptive organ that responds to its early experiences by acquiring the features best suited to that unique environment. But there are large gaps in our understanding of how the developing brain adapts to its surroundings, the purpose of this adaptation, and its consequences for behaviour. The team will make new advances in computational modelling to address these gaps.