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McLean researcher

Susan L. Andersen: Laboratory of Developmental Neuropharmacology

Our mission is to determine how early environmental events—including medication, drugs of abuse, or stress—influence brain development, and how we can use this information to correct abnormal development before symptoms appear. We focus on how drugs impact the immature brain immediately and in the long-term. The drugs we investigate are both legal (for example, Ritalin and antidepressants) and illegal (for example, cocaine and marijuana).

We use animal models that closely imitate the human condition so that we may develop interventions to reduce or prevent suffering. Our main disorders of interest are addiction, ADHD, child abuse, conduct disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.

Since 2003 the Laboratory of Developmental Neuropharmacology has charted the course of normal and abnormal development following early insult with drugs or stress. We continue to embark on a bench-to-bedside approach to develop treatments that can be used in children and teenagers to maximize their potential by using state-of-the-art approaches.