Bridging the species gap in translational research for neurodevelopmental disorders

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9 Scopus citations


The prevalence and societal impact of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) continue to increase despite years of research in both patient populations and animal models. There remains an urgent need for translational efforts between clinical and preclinical research to (i) identify and evaluate putative causes of NDD, (ii) determine their underlying neurobiological mechanisms, (iii) develop and test novel therapeutic approaches, and (iv) translate basic research into safe and effective clinical practices. Given the complexity behind potential causes and behaviors affected by NDDs, modeling these uniquely human brain disorders in animals will require that we capitalize on unique advantages of a diverse array of species. While much NDD research has been conducted in more traditional animal models such as the mouse, ultimately, we may benefit from creating animal models with species that have a more sophisticated social behavior repertoire such as the rat (Rattus norvegicus) or species that more closely related to humans, such as the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). Here, we highlight the rat and rhesus macaque models for their role in previous psychological research discoveries, current efforts to understand the neurobiology of NDDs, and focus on the convergence of behavior outcome measures that parallel features of human NDDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Animal models
  • Laboratory rat
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Rhesus macaque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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