Neurological and Behavioral Sciences

Advances in the neurological and behavioral sciences continue to offer unprecedented opportunities to better understand and treat disorders of the central nervous system. The goal of the Neurobehavioral Research Unit (NBRU), located on the Broadway (main medical) campus of the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI), is to support research focused on typical and atypical development of the central nervous system, as well as conditions affecting central nervous system functioning throughout the lifespan. Capabilities include neuroimaging, neurogenetic analysis, and neurobehavioral assessment, all of which complement the other vast resources of Hopkins Medicine.NBRU resources are organized into the following components:

  • Brain Research
  • Neurobehavioral Research
  • Neurogenetic Analysis
  • Research Design and Implementation

Operant Performance Measures

State-of-the-art Operant Performance Measures are available to investigators through the NBRU at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Direct observation of behavior, conducted in areas that simulate naturalistic settings, is accomplished by the use of computers with accompanying customized software that allows for the simultaneous recording of up to twenty behaviors for real time analysis, including conditional probability calculations.


Neuroimaging resources available through the NBRU include structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, spectroscopic and diffusion analysis, fiber track mapping, fMRI protocol development, and training of pediatric and brain/behavior disordered subjects to cooperate with research protocols including motion control during scans. The F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging is dedicated to brain research using functional MRI technologies and is specifically designed to provide a uniquely comfortable scanning environment for studies in children, the elderly, and subjects with neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Pediatric Neuropsychological Testing

Neuropsychological testing, includes achievement tests, behavior checklists, measures of personality, developmental status, intelligence, executive function, language, visual spatial skills, and memory, are available to ICTR CRU investigators. Skilled psychologists are available to provide a broad range of testing, including assessments of children who are cognitively very limited; those less severely impaired; and learning disabled children and adults; and control groups.