Research Topic

Molecular and Genetic Mechanisms in Neurodevelopmental Disorders: From Bench to Bedside

About this Research Topic

In recent years, there has been significant progress in our ability to reliably identify genes that are strongly associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NDDs). This has opened the door to the discovery of novel molecular mechanisms and personalized treatments for NDDs. We currently lack targeted therapies for NDDs, which is due in large part to our limited understanding of the underlying biology of these disorders. This is a major public health concern, given that up to 7% of children in the US have been diagnosed with a developmental disability and similar rates of developmental disability occur in children worldwide. To gain a greater understanding of the biology of NDDs, a multi-tiered approach is needed. This Research Topic will focus on cutting-edge research approaches to understanding the biology of prevalent NDDs like ASD and the implications of these findings for advancing treatments in the clinic.

The goal of this Research Topic is to present cutting-edge molecular and genetics studies in NDDs and to discuss the potential of these studies to translate to the clinic. This Research Topic will highlight recent advances in gene discovery, their relevance for clinicians, and their potential to inform treatment. We will focus on molecular pathways implicated by these genes, including chromatin modifiers and synaptic function. Furthermore, we will highlight recent findings on environmental risks, including maternal physiological changes and other exposures prenatally. We also aim to highlight advances in NDD biology and potential pharmacological treatments gained from diverse animal models as well as human iPSCs. Finally, we aim to discuss the potential for these discoveries to inform the development of new treatments as well as the challenges of advancing from basic neurobiological mechanisms to clinical trials. Together, we anticipate that this Research Topic will be broadly informative to clinicians, physician-scientists, and basic scientists interested in understanding the biology of NDDs.

We welcome Original Research articles, Case Reports of clinical cohorts, and Review articles addressing the above aims.

We specifically encourage submissions addressing the following topics:

• Gene discovery in NDDs and potential to translate these findings to the clinic;
• Analysis of molecular pathways implicated by NDD risk genes;
• Environmental risks and NDDs;
• Translational research using diverse animal models of NDD risk genes;
• Translational research for NDDs using iPSCs;
• Challenges in translating molecular and genetic studies to the bedside;
• Novel clinical research in NDDs relating to genetics (e.g. integrating genetic and clinical studies; imaging genomics; description of clinical cohorts).


Keywords: autism, neurodevelopmental disorder, genetic, molecular, brain, behavior


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In recent years, there has been significant progress in our ability to reliably identify genes that are strongly associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NDDs). This has opened the door to the discovery of novel molecular mechanisms and personalized treatments for NDDs. We currently lack targeted therapies for NDDs, which is due in large part to our limited understanding of the underlying biology of these disorders. This is a major public health concern, given that up to 7% of children in the US have been diagnosed with a developmental disability and similar rates of developmental disability occur in children worldwide. To gain a greater understanding of the biology of NDDs, a multi-tiered approach is needed. This Research Topic will focus on cutting-edge research approaches to understanding the biology of prevalent NDDs like ASD and the implications of these findings for advancing treatments in the clinic.

The goal of this Research Topic is to present cutting-edge molecular and genetics studies in NDDs and to discuss the potential of these studies to translate to the clinic. This Research Topic will highlight recent advances in gene discovery, their relevance for clinicians, and their potential to inform treatment. We will focus on molecular pathways implicated by these genes, including chromatin modifiers and synaptic function. Furthermore, we will highlight recent findings on environmental risks, including maternal physiological changes and other exposures prenatally. We also aim to highlight advances in NDD biology and potential pharmacological treatments gained from diverse animal models as well as human iPSCs. Finally, we aim to discuss the potential for these discoveries to inform the development of new treatments as well as the challenges of advancing from basic neurobiological mechanisms to clinical trials. Together, we anticipate that this Research Topic will be broadly informative to clinicians, physician-scientists, and basic scientists interested in understanding the biology of NDDs.

We welcome Original Research articles, Case Reports of clinical cohorts, and Review articles addressing the above aims.

We specifically encourage submissions addressing the following topics:

• Gene discovery in NDDs and potential to translate these findings to the clinic;
• Analysis of molecular pathways implicated by NDD risk genes;
• Environmental risks and NDDs;
• Translational research using diverse animal models of NDD risk genes;
• Translational research for NDDs using iPSCs;
• Challenges in translating molecular and genetic studies to the bedside;
• Novel clinical research in NDDs relating to genetics (e.g. integrating genetic and clinical studies; imaging genomics; description of clinical cohorts).


Keywords: autism, neurodevelopmental disorder, genetic, molecular, brain, behavior


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2021 Manuscript
15 February 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2021 Manuscript
15 February 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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