Our Vision

All victims of childhood trauma and abuse will not only recover. They will thrive.

Our Mission

Using neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry, we are exploring brain-body mechanisms of vulnerability and resilience to childhood trauma. We are studying how trauma and abuse affect brain development in youth, as well as social and biological functioning in families, to lead youth to resilience or vulnerability. With new information learned, we will test whether current and novel treatments can restore brain resilience and mental health in youth victims.

Every year, millions of youth are exposed to severe adversity and psychological trauma. These experiences put youth at high risk for mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicide. How do traumatic experiences alter brain development to cause mental illness? What happens in the brain to help kids be resilient? Founded by Dr. Ryan Herringa, a pediatric psychiatrist and neuroscientist, the BRAVE Research Center uses neuroscience to understand the effects of early-life trauma on brain development. Our goal is to translate this knowledge into brain-based treatments for youth victims of trauma and their families. Every child deserves the chance to live up to their fullest potential. For youth victims of trauma, the stakes are even greater. Let’s help them to Be BRAVE.

What do we do?

Our center uses a variety of approaches to study the effects of adversity and trauma on brain development and family function. Grounded in neuroscience, we use brain imaging (MRI), physiology, genetics, microbiome, and other techniques to understand brain-body function in typically developing youth, trauma-exposed youth, and youth with mental illness such as PTSD. By establishing the neural circuits and biology involved in vulnerability and resilience to trauma, we aim to use this knowledge to improve our diagnosis of mental illness, and develop new treatments that will help to foster resilient brain development and promote well-being in childhood and beyond.