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Developmental disorders

Utrecht has a strong tradition in studying neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD and autism. Using advanced clinical diagnostic tools- combined with genetic approaches, neuroimaging, and cognitive psychology, we strive to understand the developmental neurobiological pathways underlying complex disorders.

Principal investigators Publications
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Interview with Sarah Durston

Why some children develop a disorder and others don’t. Interview with Sarah Durston.


Research questions

A key question is how both genetic and environmental risk factors influence brain- and behavioral development. An important aim of our research is to implement the understanding of the neurodevelopmental mechanisms of these disorders in the clinic, both for improvement of diagnosis as well as the development of new treatment options. Furthermore, the extensive neurobiological expertise within the Brain Center is also focused on the molecular mechanisms of neuronal differentiation, migration, and structural connectivity during development. As such, we are able to make translational developmental neuroscience a focus of our research efforts. 

Core topics of research are:

  • Developmental neuroimaging studies in both ADHD and ASD. The responsible PIs are Sarah Durston and Bob Oranje. For more information on these studies, please visit the website of the NICHE lab.
  • Genetic studies on autism, and a longitudinal follow-up study of children with the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. The responsible PI is Jacob Vorstman.
  • Translational studies in autism, such as behavioral and functional studies of genetic animal models, and the application of the results in human studies. The responsible PI is Hilgo Bruining. Studies of the ASD phenotype. The responsible PI is Maretha de Jonge.
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