Research Areas

Individual Differences in Brain 
& Behavior

Brain development is a lifelong process.

One of the best ways to understand individual differences is to measure the same person multiple times and compare how their brain and behavior changes as compared to other individuals. By doing so, our lab hopes to better understand how the brain and subsequent behavior develops across various stages of the lifespan. We are also interested to know if hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, influence how the brain develops and if it does so differently in boys versus girls. We are also trying to understand what role different hormones have on how the brain matures both during pregnancy and puberty and if an individual’s genes impact these processes.

Air Pollution & Neurodevelopment

How does early life exposure to air pollutants and other toxins influence neurodevelopment? Are these effects long-lasting? 

New research efforts by our laboratory aim to determine if exposure to air pollution during child and adolescent development has long-lasting effects on how the brain matures and functions over time. In considering how pollution may act on the developing brain, we also consider if these effects are similar for everyone, or if there are other factors that may make some children and adolescents more vulnerable to the potential effects of air pollution.

Mental Health Risk & Resilience 

1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have a serious mental illness and 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. 

By studying individual differences, our work ultimately aims to better understand and help to identify preclinical indicators of mental health risk, as well as resilience, in children and adolescents. Studies in our lab are trying to understand how hormones, environment, and even genes may interact to put an individual at risk for mental health disorders, as well as how lifestyle choices, like physical exercise, may positively benefit the developing brain and cognitive function.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram