December 2017 - Dr. McLauglin Receives the Neuropsychopharmacology Editor's Award for a Transformative Original Report!

December 15, 2017

Dr. McLaughlin, lab Director, receives the Neuropsychopharmacology Editor's Award for a Transformative Original Report.  This award was given to lab research examining how exposure to maltreatment in childhood influences how children learn about threat and safety in the environment, and the role that differences in brain structure play in these learning differences.  The paper demonstrates that children who have experienced maltreatment have a difficult time discriminating between threat and safety cues, which is linked to reductions in amygdala volume.  These alterations in emotional learning are a mechanism linking child maltreatment to higher levels of externalizing symptoms in children. 

You can read the full paper here

 

 

December 2017 - Gradate Student Hilary Lambert Wins Dissertation Award!

December 19, 2017

Hilary Lambert, a graduate student in the Stress and Development Lab, wins the Frank W. Putnam Research Scholars award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.  This award is named in the honor of Frank W. Putnam, a leader in the study of traumatic stress in children.  The award is given to a graduate student whose dissertation is judged to have the potential to make the greatest contribution to the field of traumatic stress.  Hilary's project will examine the role of associative learning in risk for PTSD among children who have experienced trauma.  Congratulations Hilary!!

October 2017 - SD Lab research featured on NPR!

October 16, 2017

A recent paper from the Stress and Development lab, published in Nature Communications, raises questions about existing research on "normal" brain development.  Most studies of brain development in children have been comprised of samples that look very different than the United States population in terms of race, ethnicity, parental education, and family income.  Specifically, most children in these studies come from families that have greater levels of education and income than children in the U.S. overall, and they are more likely to be White.  The study suggests that this may be skewing our understanding of what "normal" brain development looks like.  The study demonstrates that the development of many brain areas occurs earlier if the sample includes children who more closely resemble the U.S. population in terms of race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.  We hope these findings will encourage neuroscience researchers to recruit more diverse samples and consider the impact that biased sampling might have on our understanding of how the brain develops. 

Read the NPR summary of the study here: Studies Skewed By Focus On Well-Off, Educated Brains

You can also read more about the paper here: Brain Imaging Results Skewed by Biased Study Samples 

The paper was also featured in a Medical Express post here: Brain Imaging Results Skewed by Biased Study Samples

Read the entire paper here: Sample composition alters associations between age and brain structure

September 2017 - The Stress and Development Lab welcomes two new graduate students!

September 18, 2017

Nessa Bryce and Stephanie DeCross join the Stress and Development Lab as graduate students!

Stephanie is so excited to join the Stress and Development Lab! Her work focuses on how experiences like early adversity broadly predispose adolescents towards trajectories of mental illness, specifically examining the role of resulting differences in threat circuitry and emotional processes and other factors in determining divergent outcomes. She’s so grateful for the opportunity to pursue her interests working with such an incredible group of people! 

September 2017 - Stress and Development Lab research is featured in the New York Times!

September 8, 2017

The article describes research conducted by Dr. Katie McLaughlin, lab director, on children's mental health following Hurricane Katrina.  Specifically, the results of the study showed that children affected by Hurricane Katrina had meaningful increases in clinically significant mental health problems after the storm that persisted for many children for years after the storm.  Children exposed to a high number of hurricane-related stressors - such as seeing someone get hurt or killed, having to evacuate their home, living in a shelter, and losing their home, pet, or meaningful possessions - were the most likely to have ongoing mental health difficulties.  Many of these children also experienced lasting disruptions in their support networks due to long-term displacement and community dissolution after the hurricane.  These findings have relevance for mental health treatment planning for children affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Read the story here: Life After the Storm: Children Who Survived Katrina Offer Lessons

August 2017 - Jessica Jenness, a postdoc in the SD Lab, has been awarded a Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health that will support a faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at UW.

August 1, 2017

Jessica Jenness, a postdoc in the Stress and Development Lab, has been awarded a Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health that will support a faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at UW. Her project is entitled “Targeted Intervention for Adolescents following Child Maltreatment: Examining Neural and Behavioral Mechanisms within the Positive Valence System.” Childhood maltreatment is linked to an increased risk of developing depression and not responding to current best practice depression interventions, including cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants. Research suggests that child maltreatment may increase risk for depression through disruptions in reward processing, but no studies have investigated whether interventions targeting reward systems improve treatment outcome. Jess’ project will be the first to examine whether Behavioral Activation may be an alternative depression intervention that targets neural and behavioral reward system deficits. Study findings have the potential to inform efforts to personalize and optimize interventions in vulnerable populations of youth.

July 2017 - Dr. Katie McLaughlin speaks about the neuroscience of trauma and adversity to journalists at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism.

July 17, 2017
Dr. Katie McLaughlin, Lab Director, speaks about the neuroscience of trauma and adversity to journalists at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. The journalists were participating in the 2017 National Fellowship program at the Center for Health Journalism and will be undertaking ambitious investigative journalism projects on the topic of vulnerable children and families with support from the Fellowship program, which is run by Michelle Levandar.  
 

June 2017 - Dr. Katie McLaughlin, Stress and Development Lab Director, speaks with the BBC about how poverty influences children’s brain development and their chances for success in life.

June 1, 2017
Dr. Katie McLaughlin, Stress and Development Lab Director, speaks with the BBC World Service about how poverty influences children’s brain development and their chances for success in life.  You can listen to the story here: 
 

 

May 2017 - Dr. Katie McLaughlin, lab director, gives the 12th annual Edwards Lecture for the UW Department of Psychology.

May 31, 2017
Each year, the Psychology Department hosts the Edwards Lecture series for the community.  In 2017, the topic of these lectures was Improving Society through Brain Science.  The lectures cover 3 topics each year, including one talk from a UW Psychology Professor paired with one talk from an outside expert.  Dr. Katie McLaughlin, Director of the Stress and Development Lab, gave one of these lectures on the topic of Environmental Experience and Brain Development.  You can find a video recording of all six of the lectures here:
 
 
Dr. McLaughlin’s talk can be found here: 
 

May 2017 -Stress and Development Lab Research cited by Sheryl Sandberg in the New York Times

May 18, 2017
Sheryl Sandberg writes about how to build resilience in children after a loss in the New York Times.  She cites Stress and Development Lab research in the article!  Click on the link for “harm and deprivation” to read more.