Science and Research at the Child Mind Institute

In a few short years we have built a program that is changing how the world approaches developmental neuroscience research.

Our research program at the Child Mind Institute is laying the foundation for epochal leaps in the treatment and prevention of child and adolescent mental health disorders, while making sure our impact is felt today—in the scientific community and in the lives of the children and families we are dedicated to. In a few short years — through innovative projects, community outreach and global open science partnerships — we have built a program that is changing how the world approaches developmental neuroscience research. Here’s how we’re making change, where you can learn more and how to support science at the Child Mind Institute:


Data-Sharing Initiatives

The Child Mind Institute is a leading force in open neuroscience — the movement to make scientific data, tools and knowledge accessible to all researchers. Most academic medical centers and research institutes hold their data until papers are published, but we freely share massive amounts of data to speed the pace of discovery. This demonstration of an open science philosophy will encourage institutions to embrace a culture change that produces breakthroughs for the field. Open science initiatives supported by the Child Mind Institute include the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative (INDI), the Autism Brain Image Data Exchange (ABIDE) and the free sharing of data gathered as part of the Healthy Brain Network (HBN).


Endeavor Scientists Program

Recent technological innovations are transforming the field of children’s mental health, but psychiatric researchers often lack the technical and analytic backgrounds necessary to exploit them. The Endeavor Scientists Program is designed to address this issue. Through the generosity of private funders, Endeavor Scientist trainees conduct research over a two-year period, guided by an Endeavor Mentor located at an independent research institution. These young scientists bring their own unique skills and perspectives and are taught to leverage open source resources, collaborate across institutions and spread this culture shift as they mature as investigators. In the Endeavor Scientist Program, we make an investment in cultivating the change we want and need to see in the scientific community.


Innovative Technologies Lab

A big part of bringing research and the real world together is leveraging technology — not just EEGs and brainscans but smartphones, wearables and other tech we use every day. Our Innovative Technologies Lab is spearheading this integration — for instance, gathering speech samples from as many as 10,000 participants as part of the Healthy Brain Network, with the understanding that large-scale, standardized data collection and analysis will lead to simple but powerful mobile tools for diagnosis and evaluation. Comparing a child’s “voiceprint” to a database of 10,000 already matched to diagnostic and behavioral information could revolutionize clinical evaluation, using objective biomarkers of mental health disorders to aid diagnosis and treatment. If mobile tools for mental health care and evaluation are based on solid research and analysis like this, it will be a promising field that offers families, providers and researchers transformative new options.


The Healthy Brain Network

The goal of the Healthy Brain Network is bold: to seek out biological markers of mental health disorders in the developing brain and revolutionize mental health treatment and prevention. This community-based research program is collecting imaging and clinical data from 10,000 young people, sharing this de-identified data freely to accelerate discovery, and in the process providing mental health evaluations and follow-up resources at no cost to 10,000 children. The Healthy Brain Network is collecting an unprecedentedly rich dataset that allows researchers to propose new ways to understand disorders and new targets for therapy. New ways of thinking about young people and their strengths and deficits provide an opportunity for researchers to identify protective factors that make an individual more resilient. The result: pushing the envelope in our ability to characterize individuals and their differences, so that we can soon accurately describe a patient and match an effective treatment — personalized mental health care.