Please see CV
Please see CV
Our research, as well as the research of many others, has shown that biological insults can lead to poor developmental outcome in children at risk but that many of these effects can be attenuated or exacerbated by social and environmental factors. We study a broad range of typical and atypical developmental outcomes including neurodevelopmental, cognitive and academic deficits, temperament, social and emotional development, antisocial behavior, psychopathology, and substance use onset. Our group also studies different (but often overlapping) populations of children at biological and/or social risk. Examples of biological risk include prenatal exposures to legal and illegal substances of abuse, maternal depression, psychotropic medication, intrauterine growth retardation and stress; prematurity, fetal and newborn neurobehavioral deficits. Developmental outcomes are also mediated by physiological mechanisms, thus our work also includes the study of heart rate variability, respiratory activity, electrodermal responses and cortisol reactivity. Examples of social risk factors include poverty, the quality of the home environment, parenting, including mental status, changes in caregiving and other aspects of childhood adversity and environmental toxicity such as maltreatment. We also use cross-cultural designs to study "naturalistic" experiments in environmental and parenting conditions. The study of the interplay between biological and social factors provides an understanding of the mechanisms that determine developmental outcome. For example, one way in which the environment (prenatal or postnatal) alters behavior is through epigenetic mechanisms and this has become a major focus of our current research. The study of children at risk enables us to understand the unfolding of developmental processes that will lead to the development of preventive interventions to minimize or eradicate the forces that drive adverse outcome in children.