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Child & Brain Development

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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.

 


SELECTED PAPERS

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. ABSTRACT

Boyce, W.T.  and M.S. Kobor. "Development and the epigenome: the ‘synapse’ of gene-environment interplay." Developmental Science 18 (2015):1-23 ABSTRACT

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 

Do you want to shape the future of early childhood health? 

Contact: Amy Cook, Senior Director, Knowledge Mobilization

Founded

2003

Renewal Dates

2007, 2012, 2019

Partners

Genome British Columbia

Supporters

Canada Life, The Joan and Clifford Hatch Foundation, Anonymous (1)

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Developmental, molecular and evolutionary biology
Behavioural genetics
Epigenetics
Cognitive and developmental neuroscience
Biological, cognitive and developmental psychology
Psychiatry
Biological anthropology
Epidemiology

CIFAR Contact

Rachel Parker

Fellows & Advisors

Program Directors

Takao K. Hensch

Program Co-Director

Child & Brain Development
Harvard University
United States

Candice Odgers

Program Co-Director

Child & Brain Development
University of California Irvine
United States
Fellows

Daniel Ansari

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
Western University
Canada

Daniel Belsky

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
Columbia University
United States

Ami Citri

Fellow
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2016-2018

Child & Brain Development
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Israel

David Forrest Clayton

Associate Fellow

Child & Brain Development
Queen Mary University of London
United Kingdom

Brian Dias

Fellow
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2017-2019

Child & Brain Development
University of Southern California
United States

Paul Frankland

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
Hospital for Sick Children
Canada

Anna Goldenberg

Canada CIFAR AI Chair
Lebovic Fellow

Child & Brain Development
Pan-Canadian AI Strategy
Hospital for Sick Children
University of Toronto
Vector Institute
Canada

Megan R. Gunnar

Associate Fellow

Child & Brain Development
University of Minnesota
United States

Daniela Kaufer

Associate Fellow

Child & Brain Development
University of California Berkeley
United States

Michael S. Kobor

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
University of British Columbia
Canada

Bryan Kolb

Associate Fellow

Child & Brain Development
University of Lethbridge
Canada

Joel D. Levine

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
University of Toronto at Mississauga
Canada

Thomas McDade

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
Northwestern University
United States

Sara Mostafavi

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
University of British Columbia
Vector Institute
Canada

Charles A. Nelson

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
Harvard University
United States

Kieran O'Donnell

Fellow
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2016-2018

Child & Brain Development
Yale University
Canada

Marla B. Sokolowski

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
University of Toronto
Canada

Jenny Tung

Fellow

Child & Brain Development
Duke University
United States
Advisors

Elisabeth Binder

Advisory Committee Chair

Child & Brain Development
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
Germany

W. Thomas Boyce

Advisor

Child & Brain Development
University of California San Francisco
United States

Ulman Lindenberger

Advisor

Child & Brain Development
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Germany

Michael Meaney

Advisor

Child & Brain Development
McGill University
Canada

Gene Robinson

Advisor

Child & Brain Development
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
United States
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

Ami Citri

Fellow
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2016-2018

Child & Brain Development
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Israel

Brian Dias

Fellow
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2017-2019

Child & Brain Development
University of Southern California
United States

Allyson Mackey

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2020-2022

Child & Brain Development
University of Pennsylvania
United States

Kieran O'Donnell

Fellow
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2016-2018

Child & Brain Development
Yale University
Canada

Nadine Provençal

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2020-2022

Child & Brain Development
Simon Fraser University
Canada

Tomás Ryan

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2020-2022

Child & Brain Development
Trinity College Dublin
Ireland

Samuel Urlacher

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2020-2022

Child & Brain Development
Baylor University
United States

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Support Us

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.

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