Mission Statement

"Discovering how brain development affects the behavior of children"

The great orchestration between the genetic and experiential events that enable the human brain to grow, differentiate and learn is nothing short of a miracle. But it is a miracle that can go awry, leaving the developing child vulnerable to mental and behavioral illnesses.

The Child Development Center will build upon existing strengths at the University of South Florida to bring the latest molecular, genetic, imaging and assessment technologies to bear on this critically important frontier of medical science. It will establish a nationally-recognized center of excellence in the emerging field of Developmental Neuroscience, dedicated to unlocking the secrets that link the developing brain to normal and abnormal behavior in children.

The human brain continues to take form during the first years of life. Early experience shapes how the brain develops, affecting forever the child's ability to process information and learn.

The Center will focus on bringing the same advances that have revolutionized our understanding of adult brain functioning to bear on disorders of brain development that affect children in order to make the same types of dramatic breakthroughs for them.

The last thirty years have witnessed an unprecedented increase in our knowledge of how the brain functions and how it is disrupted in various forms of mental and neurological illness. However, most of these advances have resulted from studying how adult brains function. We still know too little about the factors that interfere with normal brain development during infancy and childhood or about the disorders that result when these developmental processes do not function properly.

The Center will focus on bringing the same advances that have revolutionized our understanding of adult brain functioning to bear on disorders of brain development that affect children in order to make the same types of dramatic breakthroughs for them. The Center will serve as an invaluable source of up-to-date information about these developmental disorders and will disseminate it by collaborating with research scientists, health practitioners, school systems and affected families throughout the region.

It will include facilities for conducting clinical trials of newly developed treatments for these disorders and will provide exciting opportunities for graduate and post-graduate education.