Whilst we might primarily think of our external body as the classic hallmark of ageing, however as we may forget, not only does our outer body develop over time, but the brain matures and develops as well. One of the most important period for brain development is childhood and adolescence, in which the brain matures both at the molecular level by synaptic pruning, but also on a network level, as connections between brain regions are formed and strengthened. This development and specification of neuroanatomy allows for the development of specific behaviours such as decision-making and introspection. Subsequently, abnormalities in development, either through genetic or environmental factors are significantly important to understand, as they manifest through aberrations in behaviour through anti-social tendencies and mental health conditions. However neural development is an ongoing process which continues throughout the entire lifespan.
Research at CINN aims to investigate the impact of multiple factors upon brain development, with a specific interest on the period of adolescence. One such project, INDIE, currently under development itself, aims to track how the brain develops during adolescence, the impact of biological factors such as hormones upon this process and how these factors are translated into behavioural real-world choices.