The Baby Connectome Project

The Baby Connectome Project (BCP) is a four-year study of typically developing children from birth through five years of age, intended to provide a better understanding of how the brain and behavior develop from infancy through early childhood and the factors that contribute to healthy brain development. This project is a research initiative of the Neuroscience Blueprint, a cooperative effort among the 15 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes, Centers and Offices that support neuroscience research. The BCP is supported by Wyeth Nutrition through a donation to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH).

This project will provide an unprecedented view of how brain-behavior connections develop during the first five years of life. Data is being collected at the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are characterizing human brain connectivity and map patterns of structural and functional connectivity to important behavioral skills from infancy to early childhood.

We are also collecting additional biological (e.g., genetic markers) and environmental measures (e.g., family demographics) to provide a more comprehensive picture of the factors that affect brain development. Study data will be made available to the scientific community as it is measured. This knowledge will be tremendously useful in understanding function and how early interventions may shape our brain throughout our lifespan.

The BCP is one of several programs that build upon the NIH’s Human Connectome Project (HCP), an ambitious effort to map the neural pathways that underlie human brain function. The overarching purpose is to acquire and share data about the structural and functional connectivity of the human brain.