The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Introducing our 2020-2021 Family Research Scholars

The Center for Research on Families at the UMass Amherst is pleased to announce our class of 2020-21 Family Research Scholars.


Six faculty members in various stages in their research were chosen to participate in this highly selective, year-long interdisciplinary research support program. The program serves to build lasting and productive connections among researchers of varying disciplines by providing concrete skills for successful grant submission, peer and faculty feedback on their developing proposals, individualized methodology consultation with CRF faculty and renown experts, and guidance on funding sources. 

The seventeenth cohort of the Family Research Scholars Program were selected based on their promising work in family-related research. The 2020-21 cohort represents a wide range of disciplines and research interests, including scholars from three schools and colleges across campus--Engineering, Natural Sciences, and Public Health and Health Sciences in the departments of Biology, Civil and Environmental Health Sciences, Environmental Engineering, Health Policy and Management, and Psychological and Brain Sciences. 



Dr. Timme-Laragy plans to look at the developmental origin of diabetes in fish and human fetuses. Her research will contribute to the idea that the cornerstone of developmental changes in fetuses lies in the biological foundation established during the embryonic and fetal periods.





Dr. Martins-Klein plans to use her year with CRF to investigate how autobiographical reference may impact reappraisal across age. Her research seeks to understand how specific behavioral strategies that are effective for healthy older adults, and the neural mechanisms that support these strategies, can help to better tailor late-life therapy interventions.




Dr. Kumpel plans to use her year with CRF to define, characterize, and measure household water portfolios. She will also explore the use of these portfolios to impact policy. The study will be carried out in the context of Nairobi, Kenya, Mysore, India, and the Pioneer Valley here in Massachusetts.


Dr. Goff plans to use her CRF year to address the barriers to care for Parental Prenatal Mood Disorders, such as depression and anxiety. The developmental activities will include among other topics, further developing community and clinical partnerships, assessing clinical sites readiness for implementing PMD interventions and addressing readiness needs and developing and testing supportive materials such as training curricula.


Dr. Padilla plans to use her year with CRF to investigate the neural mechanisms of postpartum depression. Little is known about the neural basis for this phenomenon, Dr. Padilla aims to establish a circuit diagram to describe how Kiss1 neurons influence depression and anxiety in response to circulating estrogen and progesterone. This will provide potential targets for interventions to help alleviate postpartum depression in mothers.




Dr. Mandalaywala plans to use her year with CRF to examine how status essentialism relates to chronic stress and health among adults in low socio-economic status families. She will do this by measuring how inter-individual variation is essentialism predicts biomarkers of chronic stress and immune function.



CRF is an endowed interdisciplinary research center of the UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. CRF’s programs provide lectures and consultation from national experts, methodological training and expertise, grant-writing support and research funding to faculty and students from these diverse backgrounds at all stages of their academic careers. CRF is committed to investing in each faculty member and student’s research career for the long term.

For more information on the Family Research Scholars Program or the Center for Research on Families, please contact Associate Director Gisele Litalien at or (413) 545-2335.