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Keywords:

  • epigenetics;
  • neuropsychiatric;
  • neural networks

This volume is an outgrowth of a symposium entitled “Epigenetics and Neuropsychiatric Diseases: Mechanisms Mediating Nature and Nurture” presented at the 88th Annual Conference of the Association for Nervous and Mental Diseases, held on December 5, 2008 at the New York Academy of Medicine. Dolores Malaspina (New York University Medical Center) and Mark F. Mehler (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) organized the symposium as two sessions, “Epigenetics and Brain Behavior Relationships” and “Epigenetics and Neuropsychiatric Diseases.” The symposium brought together basic and translational neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, neuropsycho-pharmacologists, and other allied biomedical professionals to establish an enduring dialogue and collaborative interactions concerning epigenetics and epigenomic medicine as a “new science” of brain and behavior relationships. This new discipline has begun to revolutionize our understanding of nervous system development in many specific areas, including neural stem cell biology, fate decisions, and cell diversity and connectivity; learning and memory; neuronal and neural network homeostasis; plasticity and stress responses; the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric diseases and novel therapeutic interventions involving dynamic cellular reprogramming; reorganization of synaptic and neural network connections; and remodeling of the brain parenchyma and its systemic connections to promote restoration of higher-order cognitive, behavioral, and sensorimotor functions.