Brain development and plasticity

The study of the brain is known as neuroscience, a field of biology aimed at understanding the functions of the brain at every level, from the molecular up to the psychological, and how it develops and changes across the life span. There is also a branch of psychology that deals with the anatomy and physiology of the brain, known as biological psychology. This field of study focuses on each individual part of the brain and how it assesses different parts of the body. Plasticity refers to how circuits in the brain change--organize and reorganize--in response to experience, or sensory stimulation. Periods of rapid change or plasticity occur in the brain under four main conditions: when the immature brain first begins to process sensory information (developmental plasticity); second, when changes in the body, like a problem with eyesight, alter the balance of sensory activity received by the brain (activity-dependent plasticity); third, when we alter our behavior based on new sensory information (plasticity of learning and memory), and fourth, following damage to the brain (injury-induced plasticity). Scientists believe that the same brain mechanisms underlie all four types of plasticity: adjustments in the strength of connections, or synapses, between brain cells. The details of the molecular control of synaptic modification is an extraordinarily active field of research. Understanding the mechanisms of brain plasticity is essential to developing interventions to overcome brain damage.

News items related to the topic: Brain development and plasticity

Mechanisms Regulating Neuronal Cell Death and Corpse Clearance During Development

September 4, 2013
Developmental Disabilities Grand Rounds
Bruce Carter, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry

The Next Generation of Pediatric Brain Imaging Studies and Their Relevance for Future Clinical Practice

February 27, 2014
Lectures on Development and Developmental Disabilities
Bradley Peterson, M.D., Director, Center for Developmental Neuropsychiatry, Columbia University

Imaging guides Alzheimer gene search
Late onset Alzheimer disease – the most common form of the degenerative neurological disease – has complicated genetic underpinnings.

Multimodal Interventions in IDD from Drug Discovery to Clinical Trials

October 22, 2014
Clinical & Translational Research Lecture
Colleen Niswender, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor of Pharmacology
Sheryl Rimrodt-Frierson, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Neural Indices of Treatment Responses in Children with Learning Disabilities and Other Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities
Clinical and Translational Research Lecture

Rescuing Phenotypes in Animal Models of IDD: What It Means for Humans with IDD
Clinical and Translational Research Lecture

Elucidating the Neural Basis of Affective Pathology in Youth: Neuroimaging Approaches
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Lectures on Development and Developmental Disabilities

Darting mice may hold clues to ADHD, autism, and bipolar disorder
A darting mouse may hold an important clue in the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and bipolar disorder, according to a study by a Vanderbilt University-led research team published in October 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“White matter” behaves differently in children with dyslexia
Transinstitutional neuroimaging research at Vanderbilt University finds that the brain may be structured differently in children with dyslexia, a reading disorder that affects up to 17 percent of the population.

New insight into how the brain makes memories
Every time you make a memory, somewhere in your brain a tiny filament reaches out from one neuron and forms an electrochemical connection to a neighboring neuron. VKC investigator Donna Webb heads a team of biologists who study how these connections are formed at the molecular and cellular level.

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New News Item

Study tracks brain’s trigger for overeating high-fat food
Disruptions in a specific signaling pathway in the brain can cause overeating of high-fat food, researchers at Vanderbilt University have found. Basic research on obesity is relevant to the VKC mission because children and adults with developmental disabilities have high rates of obesity.

Study further links immune response, serotonin signaling
Vanderbilt University scientists are a step closer to understanding how inflammation in the body can affect mood and behavior.

VKC Special Lecture: "Brain Injury in Premature Birth and Developmental Delay"
VKC Special Lecture: "Brain Injury in Premature Birth and Developmental Delay"

Clinical & Translational Research Lecture: "Multisensory Function and Associated Brain Networks: Theory, Development and Autism"
Clinical & Translational Research Lecture: "Multisensory Function and Associated Brain Networks: Theory, Development and Autism"

Clinical & Translational Research Lecture: "Team Science in the Study of Pregnancy-Related Infections"
Clinical & Translational Research Lecture: "Team Science in the Study of Pregnancy-Related Infections"

Grants related to the topic: Brain development and plasticity

  • Silvio O. Conte Center for Neuroscience Research: Enduring Effects of Early-Life Serotonin Signaling
    PI: Blakely, Randy
  • Genetic and Developmental Analyses of Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
    PI: Broadie, Kendal
  • Regulation of Signaling by mGluR5
    PI: Conn, Jeffrey
  • Functions of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Subtypes
    PI: Conn, Jeffrey
  • Dopaminergic Regulation of Pyramidal Cells
    PI: Deutch, Ariel
  • Stress-Mediated Alterations in Serotonin 2c Receptor Editing and Function
    PI: Emeson, Ron
  • Regulation of Neurogenesis in TSC by mTORC1 and mTORC 2
    PI: Ess, Kevin
  • Biophysical Basis of Functional Connectivity by MRI
    PI: Gore, John
  • Gene Expression during Postnatal Development of the Central Auditory Pathway
    PI: Hackett, Troy
  • Molecular Regulation of Dendrite Morphogenesis
    PI: Miller, David

People related to the topic: Brain development and plasticity

Malcolm Avison, Ph.D.
Professor of Radiology & Radiological Sciences, Neurology, and Pharmacology

Kendal Broadie, Ph.D.
Stevenson Professor of Neurobiology; Professor of Biological Sciences; Professor of Pharmacology; Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Stephen Bruehl, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

Bruce Carter, Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry

Chin Chiang, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Roger Colbran, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

P. Jeffrey Conn, Ph.D.
Lee E. Limbird Professor of Pharmacology; Director, Vanderbilt Program in Drug Discovery

Michael K. Cooper, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurology

Ronald Cowan, Ph.D., M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, and Radiology & Radiological Sciences; Director, Psychiatric Neuroimaging Program; Scientific Director, Vanderbilt Addiction Center

Eric Delpire, Ph.D.
Professor of Anesthesiology; Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Ariel Deutch, Ph.D.
James G. Blakemore Chair and Professor of Psychiatry; Professor of Pharmacology; Director, National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence; Neurochemistry Faculty Service Coordinator, IDDRC Neuroscience Core D

Ford Ebner, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Cell & Developmental Biology

Ronald Emeson, Ph.D.
Joel G. Hardman Professor of Pharmacology; Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Director, IDDRC Neuroscience Core D; Chair, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; Director, Office of Animal Welfare Assurance; Interim Director, Vanderbilt Brain Institute

Kevin Ess, M.D., Ph.D.
Gerald M. Fenichel Chair in Neurology; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Cell & Developmental Biology, and Neurology; Director, Division of Pediatric Neurology

Aurelio Galli, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Associate Director for Research Strategy, Vanderbilt Brain Institute

John Gore, Ph.D.
Hertha Ramsey Cress Chair in Medicine; Chancellor's University Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering; Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; Professor of Physics; Director, Institute of Imaging Science

Kevin Haas, Ph.D., M.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurology

Troy Hackett, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences

Stephan Heckers, M.D.
William P. and Henry B. Test Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Chair of the Department

Peter Hedera, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurology

Carl H Johnson, Ph.D.
Stevenson Chair and Professor of Biological Sciences; Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Jon Kaas, Ph.D.
Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair and Distinguished Centennial Professor of Psychology; Professor of Radiology& Radiological Sciences

Ela Knapik, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine; Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Christine Konradi, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Peter Martin, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Pharmacology; Director, Vanderbilt Addiction Center

BethAnn McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurology; Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

Douglas McMahon, Ph.D.
Stevenson Chair and Professor of Biological Sciences; Professor of Pharmacology

David M. Miller III, Ph.D.
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology & Biological Sciences

Victoria Morgan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Radiology & Radiological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering

Elaine Sanders-Bush, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology, Professor of Psychiatry, Emerita

Jeffrey D. Schall, Ph.D.
E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Neuroscience; Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Director, Center for Integrative Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience; Director, Vanderbilt Vision Research Center; Scientific Instrumentation Faculty Service Coordinator, IDDRC Neuroscience Core D

Michelle Southard-Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine; Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Mark Wallace, Ph.D.
Louise B. McGavock Endowed Chair; Professor of Hearing & Speech Sciences, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and Psychology; Dean, Vanderbilt University Graduate School; Associate Director, Vanderbilt Conte Center for Neuroscience Research

Danny Winder, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

David Zald, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

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