Beginning with conception and throughout the early years, the vast majority of the brain’s pathways are developed. Teams at U of T are leading the global charge to identify the environmental factors—from breast-feeding to emotional stress to chemical exposure—that impact gene expression, effectively determining life-long well-being. Creating strategies to promote optimal developmental and learning outcomes is essential as growing numbers of children worldwide are affected by sub-optimal environmental conditions.
We are in a unique position to make a local and global contribution to human development. The Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development (FMIHD) is a trans-disciplinary initiative involving divisions from across the University and its affiliated hospitals that focuses on the interactions between genes and the environment to understand the full relationship between children’s earliest experiences and their well-being throughout the life course. The FMIHD represents a new organizational concept that mobilizes trans-disciplinary teams around specific research questions informed by societal needs.