About this Research Topic
Neurodevelopmental processes create the growth, differentiation, maturation, synaptic pruning, and wiring necessary for the performance, functioning, and cognition of the individual. In the last century, great progress has been made in revealing different neurodevelopmental processes in both animal models and in humans. Nevertheless, the underlying neurobiology of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and learning disorders (i.e. dyslexia), are still poorly understood. Moreover, current treatments are limited, and warrant the development of effective therapeutics based on knowledge of the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease. Several genetic and environmental risk factors have been suggested to play a role in neurodevelopmental processes. Despite significant advances in this field of research, the characterization of the neurobiological mechanisms by which genetic and epigenetic risk variants might influence these disorders has proven to be far more difficult than expected.
The increasing prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders, and the enormous burden that these disorders pose for the affected individuals, their families, and the general society, calls for more research into the identification of etiologic and risk factors. Recent technological advances, such as measuring infant brain functions, next generation sequencing (for genetic, epigenetic and transcriptomic markers), and patient specific modeling using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, open up new avenues in order to implement this knowledge in various ways that were not thinkable just a decade ago. Bioinformatics and machine learning technologies embrace the complexity of such neurodevelopmental disorders, and large research consortia have been established to integrate findings at multiple levels (e.g., imaging, genetic, neural, cognitive, environmental) across developmental stages.
The present Research Topic aims to integrate the recent advances in the field, bridging between basic neuroscience and clinical research, in a multidisciplinary manner, including data from research fields such as:
• Molecular and cellular neuroscience
• Genetics, epigenetics, transcriptomics and proteomics
• Neuroimaging and imaging genetics
• Animal and cellular models
• Computational science and bioinformatics
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