Through our research, we identify longitudinal trajectories of adolescent behavioral and biological development using cutting edge research methods
Our research uses brain imaging techniques to better understand development.
Learn more about our lab's fMRI research methods in this video!
Building Resiliency and Nurturing Children's Health (BRANCH)
This NIH-funded study (R01 DA055630-01) aims to investigate resilience development among low-income, rural youth for five years. We will collect data from 7-year-olds and their caregivers, including a home visit in which we collect survey data and data on their health and context, as well as a visit to the UGA BIRC to get an MRI image of their brain. We will also be connecting with teachers for survey data.
Development of Risk & Resilience Among Rural Youth (DORRY)
This 5-year NIDA-funded study (5K01DA045219-02) explores the neurobiological mechanisms between early adversity and substance use among rural adolescents. Our team is employing multi-level methods of data collection, including structural and functional MRI, self- and parent-report questionnaires on past experiences and behavior, videotaped and coded parent-child interactions, and stress physiology. The study is currently in its first wave of data collection and will continue for the next 5 years, collecting another 2 waves of data.
Parenting & Decision Making (PDM)
PDM was an internally-funded project that extended from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2018. Employing a longitudinal (two wave) sample of low-income, ethnically diverse study aimed to collect longitudinal data (two waves) on early childhood experiences, parenting behaviors, parent and child physiological functioning, and psychopathology. Data on parenting behavior was collected via videotaped interactions between the parent and child and subsequently coded. Physiological data was collected on parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system as well as the HPA axis. Several articles have been published using this dataset.
Childhood Experiences, Vagal Tone, & Risk Behaviors
This project was an internally-funded project that ran from 2015 through 2018. The study aimed to investigate how vagal tone plays a role in the impact of childhood experiences on youths’ later development of risk behaviors. Over the course of the project, our team collected 3 waves of data from 225 young adults of low socioeconomic status in Athens, Georgia area using surveys, computer-based tasks, laboratory-induced tasks, and psychophysiological assessment. Several articles have been published using this dataset.
Childhood Adversity & Risk Behaviors
The CARB study examined the neural and cognitive mediators of childhood adversity and adult risk behaviors among rural women. Our team collected neuroimaging and survey data from 25 low socioeconomic-status young women (aged 18-25 years old) and tested the neurological pathways linking the associations between early life stress and risk behaviors.