Lifespan Baby Connectome Project

Study Overview

The LifeSpan Baby Connectome Project (BCP) will explore human brain development from birth through early childhood, focusing on factors that contribute to healthy brain development.  

A total of 500 typically developing children between birth and five years of age will be recruited across two data collection sites in a sequential cohort, accelerated longitudinal study design. The participants are divided into two main groups, longitudinal (n=285) and cross-sectional (n=215) groups, respectively. This hybrid longitudinal and cross-sectional design enables detailed characterization of early brain development from both brain structural/functional and behavioral aspects, balances between advantages offered by a longitudinal design and attribution rate, and accommodates the relatively short funding duration. Enrollment will include an equal proportion of males and females. The racial/ethnic diversity of the sample will reflect US Census data. Our team has also developed novel imaging analysis tools capable of providing quantitative measures of early brain development. We will integrate all of these novel pediatric imaging analysis tools onto HCP pipelines.


Jed Elison

Jed Elison, Ph.D. - UMinn Principal Investigator

Contact: Email

Weili Lin

Weili Lin, Ph.D. - UNC Principal Investigator

Contact: Email

Study Protocol Overview

Data being collected

Data will be collected at the two sites, University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill and University of Minnesota (UMN).  Both sites are using a Siemens Prisma 3T scanner.

  • Standard HCP demographics
  • Imaging:  The BCP will adhere to the LifeSpan protocol as much as possible, but since the age range of the study cohort differs substantially from the other HCP projects, modifications have been made to reduce total data acquisition time.  Data will be collected at two sites, UNC and UMN, using a Siemens 3T Prisma (32-channel coil) at both sites.  The imaging modalities are structural, diffusion, and functional (resting state). 
  • Behavioral AssessmentsVineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VAS-II), Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), Children’s Social Understanding Scale (CSUS), MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MCDI), Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised (IBQ-R), Early Childhood Behavioral Questionnaire (ECBQ), Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (ITSEA), Preschool Child Behavioral Checklist (P-CBCL), Preschool-Aged Strengths and Differences (SDQ), Family interview for Genetic Studies (FIGS), Major Life Events Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI), Repetitive Behavior Scales
  • Neuropsychological Battery: Minnesota Executive Functional Scale (MEFS), Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL), and Dimensional Joint Attention Assessment (DJAA)
  • Clinical:  Genetics/EpiGenetics, saliva samples.

Study Aims

  • Aim 1 will be to acquire regulatory approval, establish training/validation of behavioral assessments, modify the standard Siemens 32-channel head coil, recruit subjects, and establish the imaging/behavioral assessments.
  • Aim 2 will be to optimize the imaging protocol implementation and validation, complete the imaging human traveling phantom, and establish quality assurance and quality control procedures.
  • Aim 3 will be to complete the integration of the image analysis tools into HCP pipelines and conduct user evaluation of image analysis tool integration and refinement.
  • Aim 4 will be to deposit images and behavioral data into the CCF and host the Baby Connectome Website.

Cohort Description

The study includes of 500 participants ranging in age from birth to 5 years of age.  Each participant will complete 4-6 visits.

Data Release Plans

Data releases will occur on an ongoing basis starting in the second year of the project.


Lifespan, babies, pediatric, connectome, epigenetics, early brain development, developing children, early child

For More Information


Data Use Terms

When users request access to the NIMH Data Archive (NDA), they sign the NDA Data Use Certification (DUC) under which the data is shared. This DUC is usually submitted to the NDA electronically, but this printable version can also be submitted to

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