The Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience is dedicated to studying the developmental neurobiological basis of pediatric onset neuropsychiatric disorders. We use neurochemical and molecular genetic research tools to develop new knowledge that may lead to improvement in clinical pharmacology. We began as a neurochemistry lab studying the relationship between hyperserotonemia and autistic disorder. We are now working with collaborators on molecular genetic and clinical pharmacological studies of autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, childhood onset obsessive-compulsive disorder, stuttering, adolescent depression, and pediatric and early onset bipolar mood disorder.
Interdisciplinary Studies of Insistence on Sameness (IS) in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
With a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development of NIH, the UIC ACE focuses on an interdisciplinary, translational program of research, from gene to biochemistry to neurophysiology to behavior. Specifically, our group is investigating the pathophysiology and treatment of insistence on sameness in autism. Over 250 families are expected to participate by the end of the current period of support in the summer of 2012.
Three projects are included in the ACE:
- Project I: Genetics of Serotonin in Autism: Neurochemical and Clinical Endophenotypes, studies genetics of autism with an emphasis on the relationship between genetic variants and clinical endophenotypes.
- In Project II: Translational Studies of Cognitive, Affective and Neurochemical Processes Underlying Insistence on Sameness in Autism, studies neurocognitive and neuroimaging in subjects with autism and parallel studies in mice.
- Project III: The Pharmacogenetics of Treatment for Insistence on Sameness in Autism studies the relationship between genetic variants and response to escitalopram treatment of insistence on sameness-related irritability/anxiety in ASD.
The Center for Neurodevelopmental Disorders is the site of the Autism Center of Excellence, one of the original 6 research centers funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development of NIH. The Center focuses on determining the causes of autism and related disorders and contributing to development of new treatments. Neurochemical and molecular genetic research tools are used to study the neurobiological basis of neurodevelopmental disorders in the Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience. The center also includes the Neurodevelopmental Psychopharmacology Clinic.