To develop effective strategies for prevention and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders, it is critical to significantly improve our understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms associated with disrupted early brain development, and of how disrupted brain development leads to abnormal social interaction and communication skills and abnormal attentional and cognitive functions.
This will not only be informative for early interventions but will also identify targets for future prodromal interventions. These would aim to restore more typical neurodevelopmental function and outcome before the full onset of disorders such as ASD and ADHD. This requires an integrated multi-method and multidisciplinary approach. Recent advances in technology, infrastructure and analytic tools create a fertile environment in which to train young researchers in such an approach.
The BRAINVIEW network holds three primary aims:
- Facilitate research in the EU on early onset neurodevelopmental disorders and create a long-lasting European network of excellence. This aim is achieved by training ESRs on multiple research techniques, by providing ESRs with the opportunity to visit and work in different research environments, and by facilitating career advancements of ESRs through individual career plans and training in complementary skills. The networks builds on existing collaborations with the BASIS (British Autism Study of Infant Siblings) network, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) EU-AIMS (European Autism Interventions – A Multicentre Study for Developing New Medications) project, and the COST network ESSEA (Enhancing the Scientific Study of Early Autism: A network to improve research, services and outcomes). Collaborative databases that already exist and are being established will form a concrete basis for achieving the objectives of this ETN.
- Promote cooperation between industry partners within the network, and at the same time, facilitate the transition of ESRs between industry partners. The network includes 4 non-academic partners devoted to developing, producing, and/or commercializing products designed for recording and analyzing (1) facial expressions of emotion in baby’s (Baby FaceReader), (2) gaze direction through eye tracking, (3) coding of parent-child interaction, (4) predictive EEG algorithms, and (5) developing translational animal models and biomarkers.
- Develop f u r t h e r collaborations between academia and industry. Intensifying the interaction between companies that develop research tools and the researchers that use these products will increase the potential for scientific breakthroughs within the field, and for the optimal design and usefulness of commercial products.