The mission of the CTN is to translate knowledge from basic neuroscience and apply it to improve well-being, promote resilience, and mitigate the effects of early adverse experiences. Activities at the CTN address scientific issues of social importance with the goal of informing policy and practice. Core focal areas include, but are not limited to, poverty and maltreatment and their effects on addiction and mental health disorders. CTN takes a lifespan development approach to understand how specific brain and biological systems are affected by genetic and environmental influences. The knowledge obtained from this work is deployed in the development of evidence-based practices and science-informed public policy. An emphasis is placed on using experimental designs to help understand mechanisms and individual differences in response to interventions. The CTN employs successive iterations of neuroscience research, theory building, and practice to drive the scientific knowledge base forward. The CTN interfaces with other Centers and departments at the UO, including the Lewis Center for Neuroimaging, in the fulfillment of its mission. Relevant to the CTN mission is a focus on training at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels in neuroscience-informed approaches to prevention and intervention. Researchers and staff at the CTN embrace a collaborative, multidisciplinary, team-based approach in all of their activities. Like its parent Prevention Science Institute, the CTN is a multi-disciplinary center that includes faculty from several colleges and units on campus, including the Department of Psychology and the College of Education.
What is translational neuroscience? Here are 10 Principles of the field:
- Identify environmentally malleable neurobiological functions, circuits, and systems that underlie behavioral risk and resilience.
- Focus on central processes (e.g., executive function, reward) broadly implicated in well-being and maladjustment.
- Emphasize developmental processes, sensitive periods, and inflection points that may inform intervention strategies.
- Use intervention trials to test theories that connect causes to outcomes via underlying neurobiological mediators.
- Include rigorous measurement of contextual factors (e.g., poverty, neighborhood, culture) that confer risk or resiliency.
- Apply precision interventions that are (a) tailored to individuals based on biobehavioral characteristics, and (b) grounded in robust neuroscience.
- Prioritize those neurobiological models that parsimoniously add explanatory power to behavioral theories and evidence.
- Emphasize on applications of neuroscience to interpersonal processes such as co-regulation.
- Elucidate linkages between physical health and mental health (e.g., immune system, inflammation, neuroendocrine system, autonomic nervous system, and gut microbiome).
- Select neurobiological methodologies and measures based on their suitability to the hypotheses being tested.