Understanding Vulnerability and Adaptation in Early Brain Development using Network Neuroscience

Alice M. Graham, Mollie Marr, Claudia Buss, Elinor L. Sullivan, Damien A. Fair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Early adversity influences brain development and emerging behavioral phenotypes relevant for psychiatric disorders. Understanding the effects of adversity before and after conception on brain development has implications for contextualizing current public health crises and pervasive health inequities. The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brain at rest has shifted understanding of brain functioning and organization in the earliest periods of life. Here we review applications of this technique to examine effects of early life stress (ELS) on neurodevelopment in infancy, and highlight targets for future research. Building on the foundation of existing work in this area will require tackling significant challenges, including greater inclusion of often marginalized segments of society, and conducting larger, properly powered studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-288
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this work was provided by R00 MH111805 (A.M.G.), R34DA050291 (A.M.G. & D.A.F.), R34DA050291-S2 (A.M.G. and D.A.F.), R01 MH096773 (D.A.F.), R01 MH115357 (D.A.F.), R01MH105538 (C.B.and D.A.F.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • brain development
  • early life stress
  • functional brain networks
  • prenatal stress
  • resting state functional connectivity MRI


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