Aims and Objectives

Project Aims

The aim of the project is to accumulate a developmental cohort of children, adolescents and young adults, gathered from 1] existing birth cohorts and 2] children at risk for addiction, in India, so that we may enrich the existing data on birth, parental and perinatal information, growth parameters with longitudinal data on brain development , temperament and behaviour, as well as information regarding gene x environment influences, in order to create a data repository and biobank, which will enable prospective follow-up of these subjects through the developmental life-span and the study of gene x environment mediated development of states which increase risk or resilience to addictive disorders and associated psychiatric disorders.

To achieve this aim, this project incorporates and integrates FOUR sub-projects, which involve the development of:

  • A high Risk Cohort of children, adolescents and young adults deemed at-risk for addictive disorders due to high family loading for addictive disorders to be recruited from offspring of persons seeking treatment for substance use disorders;
  • An Exposures Cohort of children, adolescents and young adults in the general population who are exposed to different environmental risk factors during the developmental period;
  • A Repository to accumulate data pertaining to the above enquiries and a bio-resource to facilitate immediate and long-term research studies;
  • An Exposures Cohort of children, adolescents and young adults in the general population who are exposed to different environmental risk factors during the developmental period – specially situated in the North-eastern part of India with specific funding set aside for Building Human Resource Capacity with Training.


  • Establish an accelerated and planned missing longitudinal cohort in India of over 10,000 individuals within specific age ranges 6-11, 12-17, 18-23 years, by enriching existing birth cohorts and high risk cohorts (offspring of treatment seeking alcohol and other substance dependent patients).
  • Assess addictive behaviour, in adolescents and young adult members of the cohort and in parents of all subjects, both substance-based and behavioural, and carrying out a detailed behavioural characterization, with special emphasis on externalising behaviour (temperament and disorders), as well as a clinical assessment according to DSMV/ICD10.
  • Assess environmental exposures in utero and through the developmental span to select risk and resilience factors, including psychosocial stressors, socioeconomic status, societal discrimination, food and asset security, physical activity, nutrition and environmental toxins, which are thought to impact gene expression, brain development and eventually temperaments and behaviours.
  • Assess neural processes associated with externalising behaviours and addictions using functional and structural neuroimaging in a randomly selected deep phenotyping subgroup of 1000 individuals.
  • Investigate gene x environment-mediated modulation of brain development, and externalising and addictive behaviour through genetic and epigenetic studies in the deep phenotyping subset.
  • Establish a sustained and accessible data platform including a bio-resource with integrated database and bio-bank to facilitate analyses by consortium partners as well as collaborators investigating other areas of mental health, and its interface with physical health.
  • Build capacity by joint UK – Indian analysis teams, technology transfer, training sessions and summer schools, dedicated neuroimaging and bio-statistical support teams as well as the provision of short-term fellowships.
  • Provide pilot data for the establishment of a nationwide mental health cohort in India.