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Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, Postdoctoral in Neuropharmacology
Our laboratory uses neurophysiological behavioral and actigraphic recordings for sleep studies to examine CNS functioning in high risk human neonate. Based on animal model findings demonstrating disruption of cholinergic neurotransmission with prenatal exposure to opioid compounds such as methadone, we have been testing early electrophysiological correlates of prefrontal development of attention and recognition memory in neonates in withdrawal from prenatal opioid exposure. Our previous work in normative and high risk samples has investigated the hypothesis that the pattern and rhythmicity of sleep-dependent spontaneous movements functions as a primitive arousal system that is protective for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. High risk for SIDS samples such as premature infants with apnea and dysmature infants, e.g. prenatally exposed to opiates, alcohol, tobacco, are found to have reductions in the robustness of this system.
Another line of work examines prospectively the development of anxiety disorders in children following trauma and under laboratory conditions of mild stress. Future studies will incorporate neuroendocrine/neurobiological correlates of stress reactivity such as NPY, CRH and cortisol during the development of the stress disorder.