Neurodevelopmental disorders

Beatriz Rico

Programme Coordinator
Brain Disease

Neurodevelopmental disorders represent the major cause of disease burden in developed countries in adults aged 15-49 years. In contrast to heart disease or most forms of cancer, many neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism or schizophrenia begin early in life and contribute to lifelong incapacity or reduced life span. Consequently, brain disorders will become an even greater public health challenge in the coming decades. Existing medications for most neuropsychiatric disorders are merely palliative, largely because our limited understanding of their causes. Thus, while there is growing awareness of the urgency for translation from basic findings to the clinic, it is also becoming clear that the translational bridge must be raised on the solid foundation of basic neuroscience. In other words, we need a better understanding of how the brain works in both health and disease. In this research programme, we explore the neurobiology of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and childhood epilepsy using different animal models. We aim to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms behind neurodevelopmental disorders with the ultimate goal of providing potential new venues for the treatment of these devastating diseases.