Institute for the Developing Mind

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The Institute for the Developing Mind (IDM) capitalizes on the unique strengths of Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and The Saban Research Institute to house a world-class collaborative research environment dedicated to team science and comprehensive clinical care. We provide innovative clinical environments for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of conditions that impact early brain development.

IDM’s ultimate goal is to improve outcomes and maximize the potential of all pediatric patients suffering from the spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders and conditions by:

  • Expanding our understanding of brain development and becoming the leading source of discoveries impacting our understanding of human neurodevelopment and behavior.
  • Driving development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.
  • Accelerating clinical translation, deliver comprehensive coordinated care.
  • Educating the next generation of leaders in pediatrics with best practices that integrate clinical care and research together; transcending between disciplines and institutions for rich clinical experiences and rich interdisciplinary research.
  • Serving as a regional resource for social support and education for children and their families, who are challenged by neurodevelopmental disorders and provide them with accountable care. 
  • Identifying the impact that early brain development has on illness progression from childhood to adulthood.

Our Strategy

The Institute for the Developing Mind provides an integrated, interdisciplinary environment for applying these and other advances to the understanding and treatment of brain disorders. Our areas of focus are: Neuroimaging, Developmental Neurogenetics and Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience

Our institution is the largest child health care setting in a Los Angeles that is home to a multinational population of patients with diversity of medical conditions, genetics, environment and socioeconomic backgrounds. Our clinical programs are among the largest in the country and include many children with neurodevelopmental abnormalities related to prematurity, infection, early hypoxia or hypotension, trauma, genetic disorders, chemotherapy and brain irradiation for childhood cancer.

Current Program Efforts

The IDM’s current initiatives include:

  • The Autism Treatment Network and Boone Fetter Clinic – A model clinical program offering interdisciplinary diagnostic assessments and comprehensive services to children who may have autism, neurodevelopmental or behavioral disorders.

  • The Developmental Neuroscience Program at The Saban Research Institute – Led by Richard Simerly, PhD, the program is composed of scientists engaged in basic developmental neurobiological research directed toward identifying fundamental mechanisms of brain development.

  • The Saban Research Institute Annual Symposium – Each year this event focuses on an area with significant impact on pediatric health and well-being.  The 2012 Symposium was dedicated to The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease: The Developing Mind.  This day-long program featured lectures on basic and translational research into neurobehavioral diseases from renowned scientists and clinical experts.  

  • Gifts and Endowments – Continued outreach and pursuit of gifts and endowment funding will support IDM’s short- and long-term program objectives. 

Collaborations and Partnerships

The IDM works in collaboration with:

Our Expertise

The IDM brings together the knowledge and expertise of many programs throughout our hospital and incorporates clinical disciplines including:

Institute for the Developing Mind (IDM)
The Saban Research Institute
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
4650 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027


Bradley Peterson, MD
Director, Institute for the Developing Mind
Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Keck School of Medicine, USC

Richard Simerly, PhD
(323) 361-8607

Michele Kipke, PhD
(323) 361-8424 

IDM Programs