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Call for papers - Current evidence on the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the brain

Guest Editors

Jennifer Lau, Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, UK
Emilie Olié, Montpellier University, France
Camilla Parker, Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, UK
Francois van Loggerenberg, Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 14 September 2024

BMC Neuroscience is calling for submissions to our Collection focused the impact of early life adversity on brain development. This Collection aims to consolidate and disseminate recent insights into how our early life experiences shape cognitive, emotional, and behavioral trajectories in health and disease.

New Content ItemThis Collection supports and amplifies research related to SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Jennifer Lau, Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Jennifer Lau is Co-Director of the Barts Charity funded Youth Resilience Unit and Principal Investigator on a number of externally funded projects on anxiety, depression, and loneliness in children and young people. Jennifer graduated with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from UCL and completed her PhD at King’s College London. After her PhD, she took up a brief post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health in the US before being appointed Lecturer in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. In 2013, she moved back to London, first at King’s College London, then joining Queen Mary, University of London in July 2021.

Emilie Olié, Montpellier University, France 

Pr Emilie Olié is full Professor of Psychiatry at Montpellier University, France. She is interested in the management of mood disorders, borderline personality disorders, and suicidal behaviors, which are highly associated with trauma. She is involved in research on the vulnerability to suicidal behavior, focusing on neuropsychological and functional neuroimaging. She also conducts studies to develop innovative psychotherapeutic strategies in patients with suicidal behavior and mood/emotional disorders.

Camilla Parker, Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Dr Parker is a clinical academic based in the Youth Resilience Unit at Queen Mary University of London. She works clinically in a CAMHS Neurodevelopmental Service with children with ASD and ADHD in East London NHS Foundation Trust. Her work focuses on understanding the impact of child maltreatment and trauma on mental health outcomes across the life course. She is interested in identifying and harnessing psychosocial protective factors with the potential to alter negative developmental trajectories after childhood adversity. Her research includes investigating the long-term risk for depression after exposure to adverse childhood experiences in a five-decade birth cohort study, and assessing the reliability and validity of retrospectively reported child abuse and neglect in adults with Bipolar Disorder.

Francois van Loggerenberg: Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Dr van Loggerenberg, is a Charted Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a Research Fellow in the Youth Resilience Unit. He trained as an experimental psychologist in South Africa and has a PhD in Public Health Medicine from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He currently works on a large cohort of primary school children in east London, which aims to better understand the development of emotional resilience. He is a Teaching Fellow in the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University
of Oxford.


About the Collection

BMC Neuroscience is calling for submissions to a forthcoming Collection focused on how early life experiences exert a profound influence on brain development, shaping cognitive, emotional, and behavioral trajectories or consequences throughout the lifespan.

This Collection aims to consolidate and disseminate the most recent and compelling evidence regarding the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the developing or adult brain.

Understanding the interplay between adverse childhood experiences and brain development is of significance because such knowledge equips us with the insights needed to implement targeted interventions and harness protective factors, thereby mitigating the potential long-term consequences of childhood trauma into adulthood. Interdisciplinary research efforts in this field have yielded insights from neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and public health. These collaborations have broadened our understanding of how social, psychological, and biological factors converge to shape neurodevelopmental trajectories. Looking ahead, continued research in this domain holds the promise of uncovering novel therapeutic strategies, refining early intervention programs, and ultimately enhancing the resilience and well-being of individuals who have faced adversity during their formative years.

We invite original research articles and methodological papers that investigate various aspects of the influence of adverse childhood experiences on brain development, including, but not limited to:

  • Neuroplasticity and childhood trauma
  • Relationship between childhood abuse and neglect and neurodevelopmental disorders, including typical development indices, e.g., cognitive/educational/learning outcomes
  • Short-term and long-term neurobiological and neurocognitive effects of early life adversity
  • Social determinants of neurodevelopmental outcomes in the context of adversity
  • Resilience factors in response to/after childhood trauma
  • Evidence-based interventions on supporting positive neurodevelopment after early life trauma, or promoting resilience

Image credit: RaspberryStudio /

There are currently no articles in this collection.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select “Current evidence on the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the brain” from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.