Experiences from conception to age six have the most important influence of any time in the life

Parenting Research on Mental Illness, Stress & Epi/Genetics (PROMISE)

Parenting Research on Mental Illness, Stress & Epi/Genetics (PROMISE)  

Summary of the Project

PROMISE’s primary objective is to understand whether mothers’ and fathers’ parenting moderates the influence of childhood adversities and genetic susceptibility to environmental influences on 3‐5 year old children’s neurodevelopment (in behavioural and cognitive domains). Genetic susceptibility is typically associated with variants in genes for the dopamine receptor, monoamine oxidase A, and serotonin transporter that interact with environmental exposures for better or worse children’s outcomes, depending on the quality of the exposure. The second objective will examine whether mothers’ and fathers’ parenting moderates the influence of childhood adversities and genetic susceptibility on 3‐5 year old children’s epigenomic profile. PROMISE intends to follow a subsample of 600 families from the APrON cohort and used mixed effects models to test the primary hypothesis that parenting moderates the influence of adversities and genetic susceptibility on children’s neurodevelopment. 

APrON possesses 619 banked venous blood samples from 3 month old infants. Discussions among Geneticist Francois Bernier and Epigeneticist Michael Kobor (PROMISE Co‐Investigators) revealed that we have adequate volume for both genetic analysis and epigenomic profiling. In addition, another APrON sub‐study focused on Children’s Neurotoxicant Exposure and Neurodevelopment (funded by NIH and CIHR and led by Jon Martin of the University of Alberta) is collecting venous blood and conducting neurodevelopmental assessments (similar to those proposed in PROMISE), from 3 year olds. Of the 600 eligible children to be enrolled in the Neurotoxicant study, nearly half (n=286) also have APrON blood drawn at 3 months of age that may be used for genetic and epigenetic analysis. Thus, this POC project takes advantage of APrON’s original blood collection at 3 months of age and the Neurotoxicant substudy blood collection and neurodevelopmental assessment at 3 years of age. The POC will thus be able to use matched blood samples at 3 months and 3 years of age to examine epigenomic profile associations with neurodevelopment in behavioural and cognitive domains. It will also be able to examine the influence of genes connoting differential susceptibility to environmental influence on children’s neurodevelopment.

Goals and Objectives

The objective of this project is more narrowly focused on:

  1. Genetic susceptibility and neurodevelopment at 3 years of age
  2. Children’s longitudinal epigenomic profile (3 months & 3 years) and neurodevelopment at 3 years of age 

Funded by: 

Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI)
Norlien Foundation
Kids Brain Health

Members of the Team

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS:

Name and Title: Dr. Nicole Letourneau (PI), Professor and Norlien/ACHF Research Chair in Parent-Infant Mental Health (AllerGen Investigator)

Email Address: Nicole.Letourneau@ucalgary.ca
 

RESEARCH CO-INVESTIGATORS:

Name and Title: Dr. Gerald Giesbrecht, Assistant Professor, Department of Paediatrics at University of Calgary

Email Address: ggiesbre@ucalgary.ca

 

Name and Title: Dr. Michael Kobor, Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at UBC and Scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics

Email Address: msk@cmmt.ubc.ca

 

Name and Title: Dr. Jason de Koning, Assistant Professor, Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Medical Genetics at University of Calgary

Email Address: jason.dekoning@ucalgary.ca