Child & Brain Development
How do childhood experiences affect lifelong health?
One child is born to a wealthy family. Another is born into a family living in poverty. The child born into wealth will probably live a longer and healthier life – but not always. Some children born into poverty have a resilience that enables them to thrive throughout their lives despite the hardships they experienced when very young.
The Child & Brain Development program examines the effect of the early environment on children, and how adversity can have life-long effects on health and development. Over the past decade, program members have transformed our understanding of the interplay between nature and nurture, and generated important findings related to the biological underpinning of our early experiences as children.
Recent advances in technology, increased access to data, and an interdisciplinary environment are creating new opportunities for program members to find the answer to why some children thrive and others do not.
Hertzman, C. and W.T. Boyce “How experience gets under the skin to create gradients in developmental health.” Annu Rev Public Health 31 (2010): 329-47.
Kobayashi, Y., Z. Ye and T.K. Hensch. “Clock genes control cortical critical period timing.” Neuron 86(1) (2015): 264-75. ABSTRACT
Hensch, T.K. et al. “Local GABA Circuit Control of Experience-Dependent Plasticity in Developing Visual Cortex.” Science 282 (1998): 1504-1508. ABSTRACT
Path to Societal Impact
We invite experts in industry, civil society, healthcare and government to join fellows in our Child & Brain Development program for in-depth, cross-sectoral conversations that drive change and innovation.
Public policy leaders in early childhood and health and CIFAR fellows in the Child & Brain Development program are developing effective public policies and intervention programs that address health disparities and improve children’s development, health, and well-being.
Areas of focus:
- Examining the compounding effects of multiple early adversities on children
- Exploring opportunities for effective policy interventions
- Ensuring intervention programs are tailored to the needs of diverse communities
2007, 2012, 2019
Genome British Columbia
Canada Life, The Joan and Clifford Hatch Foundation
Developmental, molecular and evolutionary biology
Cognitive and developmental neuroscience
Biological, cognitive and developmental psychology
Fellows & Advisors
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars
COVID and Our Children
How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the physical and mental health of childrenNovember 10, 2021
Nature, nurture, and time: Q&A with Marla Sokolowski
Research transforms how we think about early life experiencesSeptember 24, 2020
Adversities, Neurodevelopment & New Interventions
, CIFAR convened a roundtable to explore our understanding of the impact of multiple early adversities on child developm...July 05, 2019
Brain, mind & consciousness
The memory hunters
In their lab at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, CIFAR fellows and neuroscientists Sheena Josselyn and Paul Frankla...May 22, 2019
AI and Society
AI & Society workshop explores the risks of AI on children
A CIFAR-led AI & Society workshop will explore how AI could shape the development of childrenApril 30, 2019
Q&A: Whether orchids or dandelions, all kids can thrive
Some kids are resilient, others more sensitive. But sensitive orchids can excel in the right environment, says CIFAR fel...March 11, 2019
CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.