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Developmental Brain Disorders Study Section [DBD]

The Developmental Brain Disorders [DBD] Study Section reviews applications concerned with the genetic, metabolic, infectious, environmental and behavioral factors in fetal, neonatal or pediatric brain that lead to abnormal brain development and function. Emphasis is on the vulnerability and plasticity of the developing brain in either clinical (patient-oriented research in infants/children) or basic studies (relevant animal models).



  • [Fetal] Brain development in utero: Transplacental exposure to maternal drugs, and metabolic imbalances.
  • Genetic, metabolic and morphological abnormalities: Developmental abnormalities of brain structure, volume, and ventricular space; congenital CSF abnormalities [hydrocephalus]; developmental aspects of inborn errors of metabolism, storage diseases, and neurotransmitter/receptor function; genetic basis of metabolic and morphological abnormalities; Identification and characterization of genetic mechanisms and development of animal models and therapeutic strategies specifically relevant to disorders of the developing brain.
  • Perinatal insults, low-birth-weight infants and pediatric traumatic brain injury and neurodevelopmental consequences: Developmental aspects of perinatal and early life injury, hypoxic/ischemia, pediatric seizures/epilepsy, pediatric brain injury and congenital infections involving the CNS [excluding HIV].
  • Developmental disorders: Mental retardation, learning disabilities, specific language impairment, dyslexia, autism, cerebral palsy, sudden infant death syndrome [SIDS], childhood mental disorders/developmental psychiatric disabilities [schizophrenia] and other relevant disorders.
  • Therapeutic interventions and brain plasticity: Medical, surgical, pharmacological, and behavioral interventions; plasticity and rehabilitation in the developing brain; clinical studies in children.

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