THE TWO SIDES OF EARLY LIFE ADVERSITY: VULNERABILITY VS OPPORTUNITY

Symposium Chair: Jee Hyun Kim, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental He, Parkville, Australia; Co-Chair: Christina J. Perry, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia

Early life experience, “our formative years” has a lasting impact on who we are as adults. Stress during early life generally increases propensity toward anxiety disorders and PTSD in adulthood, however clearly for certain individuals, a difficult childhood begets an adult that is more resilient to adversity. In this symposium we are interested not only in the mechanism by which early life stress impacts adult behavior, but also sources of resilience. Researchers from across the globe will discuss this issue from the level of cellular mechanism to human behavior. We will first explore the impact of early childhood experience. Professor Regina Sullivan from the NYU School of Medicine will provide insight into the control caregivers have over the subsequent developmental trajectory of their infants. Dr Quentin Pittman from the University of Calgary will present data on how an illness during infancy can alter the brain, leading to changes in neural activity and cognition that persist through adolescence and into adulthood. Dr Nim Tottenham from Columbia University in the US will discuss behavioral and imaging studies that reveal potential sources of resilience in young people that have experienced caregiver deprivation. Dr Sreedharan Sajikumar from the University of Singapore will describe a complex set of experiments that examine epigenetic factors involved in how juvenile stress has long term effects on behavior and cognition. To close, Dr Christina Perry we will explore protective factors against early life stress. She will describe how social isolation during adolescence creates an anxious phenotype that can be rescued using physical activity.

A symposium topic includes potential resilience stemming from early life experience, which is an important but rather novel topic to be discussed in ISDP. Both human and rodent research are represented in this symposium.

Presentation 1: UNDERSTANDING THE CAREGIVERS UNIQUE ACCESS TO PROGRAMMING THE INFANT BRAIN: CAREGIVER PRESENCE MODIFIES NEURAL NETWORKS PROCESSING OF TRAUMA. R. Sullivan, M. Openak and D. Wilson. ABSTRACT

Presentation 2: HOT BABY: HOW EARLY LIFE INFLAMMATION PROGRAMS THE BRAIN. Q. Pittman ABSTRACT

Presentation 3: ADAPTATION OF THREAT-RELATED NEUROBIOLOGY FOLLOWING EARLY PARENTAL DEPRIVATION. N. Tottenham ABSTRACT

Presentation 4: EFFECT OF JUVENILE STRESS ON ASSOCIATIVE PLASTICITY AND MEMORY. S. Sajikumar ABSTRACT

Presentation 5: RUNNING AWAY FROM LONELINESS: CAN EXERCISE IMPROVE ANXIETY STEMMING FROM SOCIAL ISOLATION? C.J. Perry, K. Drummond, M. Waring and J. H. Kim. ABSTRACT