Fall 2017 Newsletter | Awards and Honors

 

We congratulate the recipients of recent Master's and Doctoral degrees!

MS: Alison Binder, Lap-Ching Keung, Albert Lo, Seyed Orazani, Hemapreya Selvanathan, and Merika Wilson.

PhD: Levi Adelman, Samantha Bernecker, Rosanna Breaux, Nathan Carnes, Karin Garber, Lauren Hartstein, Mengyao Li and Jeffrey Winer.

Successful defenses: Krystal Cashen and Hillary Halpern Halpern

Student Awards:

Alice Coyne receives the Second Annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. Read more

Chaia Flegenheimer, Rachel Herman, Durga Kolla, Albert Lo, and Shirley Plucinski are among the 10 recipients of the 2017 Student Research Grants and Awards from the Center for Research on Families. Read more

Genna Santorelli awarded the American Psychological Foundation's 2017 Benton-Meier Neuropsychology Scholarship. The $2,500 award will support the dissertation research for her project entitled, ‘Emotional Response to Negative Mood Induction in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment.’ 

Andrea Silva-Gotay, student in the Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program, received a NIH “The Whole Scientist” scholarship to attend the Jackson Laboratory workshop in May 2017. She was also nominated and awarded travel funding to attend the Institute for Teaching and Mentoring this October in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, Silva-Gotay presented her work on myelination in early adolescence and the impact of alcohol as part of a symposium at the Research Society on Alcoholism this past June.

Sam Scott, Biochemistry major working on his thesis in the Richardson Lab, received an Honors Research Grant from the Commonwealth Honors College to support his research on sex differences in adolescent development and myelination of corticolimbic pathways.


Faculty Awards:

Rebecca Spencer receives $2.64 Million from NIH for preschooler sleep study. Read more

Rosie Cowell and David Huber receive $2.36 million grant to develop a new brain research tool. Read more

Hal Grotevant honored for mentoring, inspiring student to create positive change for families. Read more

Ashley Woodman and colleagues awarded Five College Blended Learning Grant. Read more

Agnès Lacreuse awarded NIH R21 grant to study the symptoms of menopause. Read more

Adrian Staub and Lisa Sanders awarded NSF grant, exploring lexical predictability in reading. Read more

Kirby Deater-Deckard member of several international research teams, receives US-Israel Binational Science Foundation grant. Read more

Adam Grabell receives Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from NIH. Read more

Nilanjana Dasgupta receives UMass Public Service Endowment Grant to work with Girls Inc. of Holyoke. Read more

Maureen Perry-Jenkins receives the UMass Life Science Moment Fund Award. Read more

Linda Tropp will be a visiting scholar this year at the Russell Sage Foundation. Read more


Promotions:

Brian Lickel and Becky Ready to Professor

Bernhard Leidner to Associate Professor

Tammy Rahhal to Senior Lecturer II

Christina Metevier and Rebecca Stowe to Senior Lecturer

Ashley Woodman, Continued Appointment


Alumni Awards:

Robert G. Bringle '74 PhD receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. Read more


Rebecca Spencer Receives $2.64 Million from NIH for Preschooler Sleep Study

Neuroscientist Rebecca Spencer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently received a five-year, $2.64 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore, in a series of laboratory and preschool-based studies, whether mid-day napping benefits learning in young children and helps them cope with emotions. Improving early education can enhance child development and school readiness, factors that are known to have lifelong effects on physical and mental health, she notes.

Spencer’s studies will build on her work over the past several years, where she has investigated whether napping in preschools is beneficial. “With the push for preschools to be publicly funded and more accessible to a wider population, some people have begun to ask whether kids should be spending their valuable school time sleeping. We think the answer is yes, naps seem to be important,” she says.

“There is rich sleep in these naps and it is important sleep, the kind that can convey a benefit to various cognitive functions. It’s important to declarative learning, the kind that you need to absorb educational materials, and it helps with memory needed to learn movement sequences. For instance, learning to tie shoes is helped by napping.”
In the work she and colleagues plan, Spencer says she will extend the research to see if napping is beneficial to more tasks, and whether sleep is important for emotion processing. She says, “We do know that naps benefit visuospatial learning, for example, the Memory Game, and motor sequence learning, but it’s not known at present whether naps confer a benefit to emotional learning and processing.”

Further, she notes, “Teachers and parents know that many times napless kids are more emotional, they cope with emotions less well or react more quickly with strong emotion. If someone steals your ball on the playground in the morning or you read a story with sad emotional content, we hypothesize that your emotional memory processing benefits by consolidating that emotional memory in sleep. You then have a ‘clean slate’ on the playground or in the classroom when you’re faced with an emotional challenge after napping. From our own research we know that for young adults, sleep is important for emotional memory consolidation and coping with emotion but it hasn’t been explored in young children.”

The sleep researchers will also extend their preschool classroom-based studies to add sleep laboratory studies. Spencer notes, “In the lab, we can look at mechanisms, which will help to address two important questions. One is how long do young children need to nap, and another is what part of the nap is most important, early or late.”

She adds, “We are always asked whether all young children need to nap, and if not, who needs a nap and who doesn’t. Also, we are asked whether some kids grow out of naps earlier than others. By looking at sleep stages they go through, we can measure that in the lab and not in the preschool setting. There is a beautiful new sleep lab on campus in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences where these studies will be conducted.”

As the sleep expert and her colleagues observe, loss of sleep changes the way people experience and manage emotions. Adults can become “grumpy” with sleep loss, and toddlers show “significantly more negative behaviors and less mature self-regulation skills when faced with an unsolvable puzzle task” if they miss their usual nap.

“Although these studies provide evidence of enhanced emotional regulation following a mid-day nap in early childhood, little is known of the underlying mechanisms through which sleep contributes to more efficient emotion processing in early childhood,” they point out.  

Overall, Spencer says she would like to contribute to current knowledge and recommendations on such topics as nap length to parents and to guide nap policy for preschools and teachers. Parents who are interested in having their preschool-age children participate in Spencer’s research are invited to contact her at rspencer@umass.edu.

More Information

Lathrop, J. (2017, September 26). UMass Amherst Neuroscientist Receives $2.64 Million from NIH for Preschooler Sleep Study. Retrieved from: http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/umass-amherst-neuroscientist-receives-264

Rosie Cowell and David Huber receive $2.36 million grant to develop a new brain research tool

Rosie Cowell and David Huber, neuroscientists in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, have been awarded a $2.36 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a mathematical model of the blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal used in fMRI. Researchers from UC San Diego and MIT will also collaborate on the project. Funding comes as part of the BRAIN initiative, striving to create new technologies that will enhance our understanding of the human brain. This research project seeks to bridge across different scales of neurobiological mechanism.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a non-invasive experimental technique which measures brain activation with a spatial resolution of around 2mm, such that the signal recorded with fMRI averages over the responses of very many individual neurons in the brain. The BOLD signal can tell you many things, such as which parts of the brain are reacting during a task. In the visual cortex, it can tell you what kinds of visual input the brain likes to respond to, by examining which visual stimuli produce a stronger signal.

Cowell and Huber will endeavor to model that signal and how it changes, developing a procedure to understand the way in which fine-grained neural responses are mapped onto the coarse-grained signals recorded with fMRI. The plan is that this new mathematical model will eventually be provided to other neuroscientists, allowing them to more accurately and precisely infer the properties of neural-level responses from fMRI data.

Cowell explains, “The ultimate goal of neuroscience is to relate what neurons do to how humans perceive the world, record memories, or how we behave. We relate single neurons to behavior. When you measure a person’s BOLD signal in a scanner, you’re looking at massive numbers of neurons aggregated into a very sluggish blood flow signal. What we really want to record is more fine-grained activity coming from individual neurons. Neuroscientists want to measure in humans, non-invasively, the relationship between neurons and behavior.”

The smallest chunk of the brain from which the fMRI scanner can read out a signal is a voxel, or cube measuring about 2mm on all sides. This cube likely contains millions of neurons. To find out what is really going on at the smallest scale researchers need to figure out a way to calculate what subpopulations of cells within the voxel are doing. Cowell and Huber want to find out how the neural sub-populations in this area are responding to visual stimuli. They will use data analysis techniques to untangle a great mixture of different activity among cells.

In the first year, Cowell and Huber hope to take a simple test case that involves displaying simple visual stimuli to human subjects, and compare their mathematical model to what they already know the brain should be doing in this case. This previous brain data comes from decades of research by the scientific community on non-human primates. John Serences of UC San Diego, one of two collaborators in the project, will provide fMRI consulting for the project, providing advice on scanner operations and the application of computational models to fMRI data. Earl Miller, a neurophysiologist at MIT, will provide a source of non-human primate data acquired from past studies. His team will reanalyze data to give Cowell and Huber a ‘ground truth’ against which to compare their computational models.

Huber notes, “In animals, scientists can record from one cell in isolation, which responds to some things but not others. The temptation is to believe that when a voxel is activated or not, it is performing in the same way as a single cell. But we know there are actually millions of cells within each voxel that have different response profiles.”

Further, “When we record from many voxels at the same time, our model assumes that different voxels differ in terms of how much each neural sub-population contributes to the voxel. Using the simultaneous constraint across voxels and stimuli, we can infer the nature of these sub-populations.”

Cowell and Huber’s team will analyze data coming from many healthy adults to see how the brain responds to visual stimuli under different conditions, and how these responses are linked to behavior. fMRI scanning will be done on-campus at the Human Magnetic Resonance Center within the Institute for Applied Life Sciences. Participants in the study will be inside the scanner while viewing images projected into their view through a mirror. They will also perform button presses on a controller, responding to simple questions or cues.

The researchers hope to provide a tool that the whole neuroscience community can use. If they are successful, they will be able to link fMRI imaging and an accurate neural-level of measurement to the behavior associated with visual perception.

News Office Release

 

Hal Grotevant honored for mentoring, inspiring student to create positive change for families

Hal Grotevant, Professor and Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at UMass, has received the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award of 2017. This award identifies educators who have encouraged former students to “create an organization which has demonstrably conferred a benefit on the community at large.” Grotevant’s former student, Julie Kohler, nominated him for the award, bringing attention to the profound effect of his mentorship. Kohler is Senior Vice President for Strategy and Planning at the Democracy Alliance, a network of donors addressing progressive policymaking, grassroots community organization, and environmental sustainability.

Grotevant served as Kohler’s advisor for her M.A. thesis within family social science, also working together during Kohler’s position as Project Manager for the Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP). Grotevant continues to lead this 30-year longitudinal study of adoptive families at UMass. Additionally, Kohler collaborated with Grotevant on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which includes a large sample of adopted youth.

Kohler played a key role in managing the MTARP project, including recruiting and interviewing participants, supervising undergraduate and graduate assistants, leading countless coding teams, and instituting procedures to maintain confidentiality and data security. She published several academic articles and chapters with Grotevant as well as numerous reports and conference presentations. In addition to seeking solid training as a social scientist interested in families, Kohler always had a keen interest in public policy affecting families and children and was focused from the beginning on creating a career that allowed her to bring those interests together.

In her current position at the Democracy Alliance (DA), she is a key strategist who monitors and directs the DA’s vision for 2020. Kohler connects a community of donors who work under the common goal of providing progressive change to democratic and economic policies. Her many years of work in philanthropy have guided her deep commitment to creating positive change in the lives of families within our communities. She is also a writer and member of the advisory board of Family Story, an organization "working to change the way we talk about families."

Grotevant notes, “It is indeed humbling and an incredible honor to receive the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award. Mentoring has been one of the most satisfying aspects of my academic career. My goal as a mentor, both for Julie and for my other students, is first to listen to them so that I can understand their experiences and their goals. Only then can I help them get to the destination they are seeking.“

Mentoring continues to play an important role in Grotevant’s work as the Rudd Family Foundation Chair. In addition to individual mentoring he provides to undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students, he has established two larger efforts. The Adoption Mentoring Partnership matches university students who themselves were adopted with adopted children in the Amherst community to build a friendship based around something central to their lives that they hold in common. The Rudd Adoption Research Program also holds one of its key goals to be mentoring the next generation of scholars in the field of adoption psychology. Grotevant adds, "We now have a cohort of over two dozen Rudd Adoption Scholars from around the world who are closely connected to our program and each other as they take their places as leaders of the next generation in this growing, interdisciplinary field."

Grotevant recalls, "I learned a great deal about mentoring through my experience with my Ph.D. mentor, Professor Sandra Scarr, now retired. She provided a context in which I could explore and clarify my interests and goals, and supported me at every step along the way, while always challenging me to be the very best I could be and modeling an academic career of engagement and passion. My greatest joy is paying that forward, just as I know that many former students of mine, including Julie, have done and will continue to do."

Further, “This summer, I am completing my 4th decade as a university professor (13 years at the University of Texas at Austin, 18 years at the University of Minnesota, 9 years and counting at UMass Amherst) -- a milestone which seems quite hard to believe, but fills me with both joy and satisfaction as I think back over the many wonderful students I have worked with and am continuing to work with.  As the new academic year begins, it renews my connections to my students of the past, present, and future.”

Wells Fargo's Philanthropic Services, the awarding institution, will issue a $25,000 honorarium to be presented at a ceremony on Saturday, November 4, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.

News Office Release

Grotevant and Kohler Publications

Ashley Woodman and colleagues awarded Five College Blended Learning Grant

Ashley Woodman (PBS) and colleagues Emily Redman and Samuel Redman (History) have been awarded a Blended Learning Grant from the Five Colleges for the project “Oral Histories of People with Disabilities and their Families”.

This project will create instructional tools to train undergraduate Psychology majors in oral history methods. They will create oral histories of people with disabilities and their family members in courses in the Developmental Disabilities and Human Services program, which will be available to the public. 

The Five College Blended Learning Initiative seeks to create new course content through online and digital technologies, collaboration outside of the classroom, and the establishment of educational resources for future study.

Pictured from left to right: Ashley Woodman, Sam Redman, and Emily Redman

 

Agnès Lacreuse awarded NIH R21 grant to study the symptoms of menopause

​Agnès Lacreuse has been awarded a National Institutes of Health R21 grant to study the interactions between the co-occurring menopausal symptoms of sleep disturbance, hot flashes and cognitive impairment within an animal model.

The prevalence and severity of these symptoms is a major public health issue for midlife women. This project will determine whether manipulations of the estrogenic milieu induce changes in sleep patterns, cognition, and thermoregulation that are consistent with menopausal symptoms. Observations from this study should establish a valid animal model for the three major menopausal symptoms experienced by women. This data will set the stage for further studies designed to elucidate the potential interactions between these symptoms and their underlying mechanisms. Ultimately, these studies should lead to the development of novel, non-estrogenic therapeutics for the many women suffering from menopausal symptoms. The total amount awarded is $443,755 for two years.

Lacreuse was also recently quoted in a story discussing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain. Science Magazine

 

Adrian Staub and Lisa Sanders awarded NSF grant, exploring lexical predictability in reading

Adrian Staub (PI) and Lisa Sanders (Co-PI) have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation, Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, entitled, "Effects of lexical predictability on parafoveal and foveal processing in reading." It is awarded from 7/1/17-6/30/20, with total costs $457,845.

Reading is an essential skill in modern society. Developing effective methods for teaching reading, and effective interventions for reading difficulties and disabilities, requires an understanding of the cognitive processes involved in fluent reading. Recent research has suggested that skilled reading may be aided by our ability to predict upcoming words. Readers use their knowledge of their language and the world to anticipate or predict the words that they are likely to encounter; words that are correctly predicted are more easily recognized. 

The present research investigates this phenomenon in detail, comparing data from two state-of-the-art methods: 1) tracking of readers' eye movements and 2) recording of Event-Related Potentials (ERPs), which reflect the brain’s activity in response to individual words. Both methods show reliable changes in response to a word's predictability. A paradox that motivates the present research is that eye movements reflect a word's predictability only when the word can be pre-processed in peripheral vision, before it is directly inspected. In contrast, ERPs reflect a word's predictability even without such pre-processing. By achieving a better understanding of what these two methods are telling us, and the source of the differential effects, the investigators hope to further our knowledge of the ways in which making unconscious predictions about upcoming words can benefit readers.

Continue reading the abstract

 

Kirby Deater-Deckard member of several international research teams

Kirby Deater-Deckard is part of several international teams that are studying the interaction between biological factors and family/peer social environments in cognitive and social-emotional development in childhood and adolescence. The US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (www.bsf.org.il) has just awarded a grant to Dr. Naama Atzaba-Poria of Ben-Gurion University in Israel and Deater-Deckard, to study parenting and sibling relationships following low- and high-risk births of a second child.

Deater-Deckard also recently received funding from the Shandong provincial government in Jinan, China, to study gene-environment interaction effects on development using data from the Longitudinal Study of Chinese Children and Adolescents in Jinan. Dr. Guanghui Chen, a colleague from Shandong Normal University in Jinan, visited in July and presented their collaborative work on children’s bullying victimization and cortisol reactivity/recovery.

In addition, Deater-Deckard is consultant and mentor on a team in the Finn Brain Birth Cohort Study. He is working with Elisabeth Nordenswan, a doctoral psychology student in Turku, Finland. Nordenswan recently received dissertation fellowship funding from three research foundations in Finland, to examine behavioral and physiological indicators of executive function in mothers and their young children. 

 

Adam Grabell receives Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from NIH

Adam Grabell, Assistant Professor, starting Fall 2017 in the UMass Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has received an NIH K23 Award! This Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award will train Grabell to probe deliberate regulation in preschoolers ranging from low to severe irritability, over a period of rapid development, and connect findings to translational implications.

Grabell’s current expertise includes differentiating the normal:abnormal spectrum of emergent psychopathology, with a focus on early disruptive behavior, multivariate statistics, and basic skills in acquiring and analyzing EEG and functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) data. His mentorship team, Drs. Harvey, Perlman, Wakschlag, Huppert, Grovetant, Deater-Deckard, and Fox, will provide expertise in child neuroimaging, emotion regulation, irritability, longitudinal design, and child treatment efficacy.

Read the abstract

Grant Information

  • 9/1/2017 - 8/31/2022 National Institutes of Health (NIH K23), Neural and behavioral correlates of deliberate emotion regulation in early childhood: testing unique links to emerging irritabilityPrincipal investigator, $891,521

 

Nilanjana Dasgupta receives UMass Public Service Endowment Grant to work with Girls Inc. of Holyoke

​Nilanjana Dasgupta’s new project with Girls Inc. of Holyoke will study whether participation in a summer program has the potential to boost young female student engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Students will have the opportunity to Interact with positive role models while developing potential interests in STEM fields. Girls Inc. offers after school and summer programs focused on literacy and academic success, STEM, leadership and critical thinking, as well as health, wellness, and sexuality.

News Office Release

 

Maureen Perry-Jenkins Receives the UMass Life Science Moment Fund Award!

Maureen Perry-Jenkins, PhD, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Director of Center for Research on Families, UMass Amherst and Nancy Byatt, DO, MS, MBA, Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology, UMass Medical School have been awarded the UMass Life Science Moment Fund Award! This fund supports inter-campus projects based in clinical and translational research. Projects are envisioned to produce meaningful health outcomes while strengthening faculty-to-faculty networks within the University.

The goal of the researchers’ community-based study is to adapt and test the feasibility of a group-based intervention aimed at reducing depression and stress (both perceived and physiological stress) among low-income new mothers and their partners early in pregnancy. Currently, there is great disparity between the rates of perinatal depression among low-income and middle-class mothers, with low-income mothers experiencing poorer mental health. One reason for this disparity is due to more parenting stressors, which may be affecting their mothers' and fathers' mental health and the healthy development of their child.

Perry-Jenkins and Byatt will partner with Square One and the Children’s Trust, who lead parent education programs in the state for low-income parents. The group-based intervention, based on evidence-based programming by Drs. Marsha Pruett and Rob Straus, will be conducted at Square One of Springfield, MA.  The intervention will adapt the Choices in Childbirth & Co-Parenting (3CP) program aimed at supporting low-income couples through the transition to parenthood. The 3CP program will be adapted to (1) address the unique needs of mothers and partners in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, and (2) strengthen the focus on building the co-parenting relationship and reducing stress and depression.

The 6-session 3CP program will allow eight couples to learn from two Healthy Family Educators through presentations, interactive sessions and discussions between mother and their partner or support-person. After the first group intervention, the process will be repeated two more times, resulting in three intervention groups. Innovative aspects of this study include supporting new parents very early in pregnancy, and evaluating and building a sustainable structure for prenatal interventions in the Springfield community aimed at supporting vulnerable families around the birth of a child. Also, data will be collected on two different aspects of potential stress, both self-reported stress and biological indicators of stress in the hormone cortisol. Understanding dysregulation (chronic levels and diurnal rhythm of cortisol) in mothers' cortisol early in pregnancy will help to clarify intervention effects on stress reduction and perinatal depression.

 

Alice Coyne Receives the Second Annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award

Alice CoyneAlice Coyne, a fourth-year student in the Clinical Psychology Program working with Dr. Michael Constantino, was awarded the second annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. Awards from the endowment support graduate research expenses including equipment purchases, data collection, professional travel, or summer stipends. Data from Alice's project, Explaining the “Therapist Effect:” Determinants of Between-Therapist Differences in Alliance Quality and the Alliance-Outcome Association, will be used to develop an empirically-supported therapist training manual. Such work is likely to reflect an improvement on current training practices, as there is currently no evidence that therapist effectiveness improves with experience or following traditional “top-down” theoretical trainings.

Specific Aims: The first aim will be to (a) prospectively test and replicate the between-therapist alliance-outcome association in a large naturalistic dataset; (b) determine, for the first time, if the between-therapist alliance-outcome correlation varies across therapists; and (c) determine if “static” therapist characteristics (e.g., theoretical orientation, training/experience, perceived strengths/weaknesses, preferences) predict between-therapist alliance quality and/or between-therapist variability in the alliance-outcome correlation (i.e., moderate this association). The second aim will be to (a) divide the large naturalistic sample into the therapists whose alliances translate into the most positive and least positive (or even negative) overall outcomes, and (b) invite these good/poor alliance therapists to participate in a brief exercise to assess their observer-coded facilitative interpersonal skill (FIS) while responding to a challenging clinical scenario. This will allow examination of whether therapist FIS differences account for differences between therapists in their ability to foster positive alliances, which in turn would relate to better patient outcomes. Importantly, this will enable a test of one of the first true therapist-level mediational models examining whether between-therapist alliance quality mediates the association between therapist FIS and outcome.

Implications: Once determinants of reliably “good alliance” therapists, or those for whom the alliance relates most strongly and positively to patient improvement, are identified, this information will be used to develop the therapist training manual. Such trainings are likely to reflect an improvement on current training practices, as there is currently no evidence that therapist effectiveness improves with experience or following traditional “top-down” theoretical trainings. Additionally, current training practices are generally based on clinicians’ experience (which does not predict patient outcome), rather than on empirical data that identifies specific therapist skills/behaviors that relate to more positive alliances and outcomes.

Fund Usage: Participant recruitment/compensation, travel

 

Five PBS Students Receive CRF Student Research Grants and Awards

Five PBS students (clockwise from top left), Durga Kolla, Rachel Herman, Albert Lo, Chaia Flegenheimer, and Shirley Plucinski, are among the 10 recipients of the 2017 Student Research Grants and Awards from the Center for Research on Families.

Honors Thesis / Capstone Award - $500
Durga Kolla, recipient of a $500 Capstone Award, is a psychology (neuroscience) and public health double major with a minor in biology. Working with advisor Laura Vandenberg, Kolla’s honors thesis characterized the effects of two common xenoestrogens on the female mouse mammary glands at prepubertal and pubertal stages of development. She will pursue her master’s in environmental health sciences next year where she will investigate the effects of xenoestrogens on pubertal timing and altered hormonal status.

CRF Dissertation Awards - $500
Rachel Herman, a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program, is the recipient of a $500 CRF Dissertation Award. Herman’s research focuses on how social and contextual factors influence health disparities, family processes and child wellbeing. Her dissertation research, conducted with Maureen Perry-Jenkins, will evaluate the efficacy of a group-based preventative intervention aimed at reducing depression and stress among first-time, low-income mothers and their partners early in the prenatal period.

Spring Travel Award - $300
Albert Lo, recipient of a $300 Spring Travel Award, is a second-year clinical psychology doctoral student working with Harold Grotevant. His travel award helped to fund his trip to the Society for Research in Child Development conference in Austin, Texas, where he presented “Trajectories of Birth Family Contact in Domestically Adopted Individuals Over Time.” Lo recently completed his master’s thesis, which focused on how adoptive parents’ views of adoption influence the parent-child relationship. He is currently the program coordinator for the Adoption Mentoring Partnership.

Dissertation Fellowship - $10,000
Chaia Flegenheimer, doctoral student in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, is the recipient of a $10,000 Dissertation Fellowship. Flegenheimer studies, with the guidance of her mentor, Jennifer McDermott, the development of attention systems and its relationship to social cues in typically and atypically developing populations. Over the next year Flegenheimer’s work will explore the behavioral and neural effects of implicit stereotype threat on task performance and engagement in young women, and the protective impact of the stereotype inoculation model (SIM). She hopes her work will help researchers and educators better understand the extent to which the SIM can protect against stereotype threat effects, and help implement it to lessen gender disparities in STEM fields.

Undergraduate Research Assistantship - $3000
Shirley Plucinski, winner of a $3,000 Undergraduate Assistantship, is an honors student pursuing a degree in psychology with a double minor in education and political science. She is working under the mentorship of Rebecca Spencer to study the influence of daytime napping on motor memory in preschool children.

CRF is committed to supporting students engaged in family research—our student researchers are addressing family challenges such as childhood obesity, family violence, school readiness and immigration policies. News Office release

 

Robert G. Bringle '72MS, '74PhD Receives Second Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board are pleased to announce that Robert G. Bringle '72MS, '74PhD of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has received a second Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award. The Global Scholar award will take him to Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore, the Universidad Antonoma de Madrid in Spain, and the Vrije Universidad in Amsterdam, the Netherlands during 2018-2019. Professor Bringle will lecture and conduct research related to institutionalizing community service learning at each institution. 

Professor Bringle, who is Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Philanthropy, is one of over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and/or provide expertise abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.