UCSF Family Brain Program

A Cross-Generational Study of Cognitive Abilities

You may know where your child's eye color and height came from, but do you ever wonder where your child's temperament and thinking style came from? Is it nature, nurture, or both? No one knows exactly, which is why our UCSF Research Team is seeking the answer to this question using the latest neuroscience.


Our research team at the University of California, San Francisco is tackling this problem for the first time using the latest, non-invasive neuroscience approaches. This study helps scientists disentangle genetic, prenatal, and postnatal environmental influences in brain networks underlying cognitive processes.

Ultimately, this research will help us understand how we become the way we are. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to contribute to the scientific understanding of genetic and environmental influences on language development and learn more of the most intriguing mysteries of the human brain!


What are we doing?

We are currently inviting families with children between the ages of 5 & 12 to participate in our program. We hope to disentangle environmental and genetic factors by welcoming families that have used assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, or surrogacy, as well as those who have naturally conceived to participate in our program. You will have the unique opportunity to learn more about how your child’s brain works, while helping us answer important questions about nature versus nurture.


  • Receive in-depth neuropsychological reports for your children (and parents - if you wish!)

  • A family brain portrait

  • Financial compensation ($100 for each parent and $50 for each child)

  • Lunch/snacks and toys to take home for your child.

You may be eligible if:

  • If your child is between 5-12 years old (we may ask you to wait until your child is 7 years old to participate)

  • You, your partner, and your child speak English as a native language


What will my family do?

  • Visit UCSF for an engaging and interactive experience

  • Complete pencil/paper style neuropsychological assessments

  • Participate in safe, non-invasive MRI scans. Our team of experts in pediatric MRI make the MRI a comfortable and fun experience for children!

The following survey will take you about 5 minutes to complete.

Have questions? Contact Dr. Fumiko Hoeft and our UCSF research team at family@ucsf.edu