The Program for Translational Research on Adversity and Neurodevelopment

P-TRAN is housed in the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center (PRC) at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and is responsible for oversight and coordination of the NPSC. This innovative program employs a transdisciplinary and translational neuroscience approach as the foundation for meaningful research, practice and policy. P-TRAN integrates theoretical perspectives and empirical methods to: (a) elucidate the etiological underpinnings of mental, emotional and behavioral (MEB) problems; (b) identify mechanisms underlying intervention responsivity; (c) inform more precision-based approaches to prevent and treat MEB problems; and (d) transfer scientific knowledge into an actionable format to inform public and private sector investments. P-TRAN provides a supportive translational research infra-structure for a “community” of cross-cutting scientists at PSU and beyond.  The ultimate goal is for our research to exert a significant and lasting beneficial impact on child development, family functioning, and community scaffolding.

P-TRAN applies a 6-phase translational framework to guide our etiological research in a way that informs the design of precision-based interventions, comparative effectiveness trials, and imbedding of resultant programs and practices to achieve broad population level effects (Fishbein et al., 2016). Type 0 translation (T0) refers to how discoveries in genomics, epigenetics, molecular biology, neurophysiology, and the behavioral and social sciences may shed light on etiological heterogeneity and reveal malleable mechanisms in the emergence of at-risk subgroups. Type 1 translation (T1) applies this mechanistic information as a blueprint for developing both screening tools and adaptive intervention strategies. Type 2 (T2) allows for the validation and refinement of the various adaptive intervention strategies via creative designs. Type 3 (T3) refers to comparative effectiveness (confirmatory) trials where personalized intervention models are pitted against “one-size-fits-all” models in real-world settings. Type 4 (T4) recognizes that while precision-based prevention can also target entire communities by modifying service delivery systems (e.g., systems change, interagency collaboration), environmental changes through social networks, or instituting targeted policies that are different from one community to the next. And Type 5 (T5) refers to globalizing the application of this knowledge and change in public opinion.

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