Katie McLaughlin is a clinical psychologist with interests in the effects of the social environment on brain and behavioral development in children and adolescents. She has a joint Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University and is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington. Her research examines how environmental experience shapes emotional, cognitive, and neurobiological development throughout childhood and adolescence. Specifically, McLaughlin investigates how adverse environments alter developmental processes in ways that increase risk for psychopathology. Her research uncovers specific developmental processes that are disrupted by adverse environmental experiences early in life and determines how those disruptions increase risk for mental health problems in children and adolescents.
McLaughlin has identified multiple neurodevelopmental mechanisms linking experiences of abuse, neglect, and poverty to the onset of youth mental disorders, including heightened amygdala reactivity, altered functional connectivity of the prefrontal cortex with the amgydala and hippocampus, and accelerated cortical thinning. Understanding these mechanisms is critical for the development of interventions to prevent the onset of psychopathology in children who experience adversity. Her overarching goal is to contribute to greater understanding of the role of environmental experience in shaping children’s development, so as to inform the creation of interventions, practices, and policies to promote adaptive development in society’s most vulnerable members.
McLaughlin has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles on these topics. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Jacobs Foundation, among others. She has received early career awards from the Society for the Science of Clinical Psychology, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Jacobs Foundation as well as the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association.
Kimberly Noble is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College at Columbia University. She received her undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. As a neuroscientist and board-certified pediatrician, she studies how socioeconomic inequality relates to in children's cognitive and brain development. Her work examines both brain and cognitive development across infancy, childhood and adolescence. She is particularly interested in understanding how early in childhood such disparities develop, the modifiable environmental differences that account for these disparities, and the ways we might harness this research to inform the design of interventions.
Dr. Noble has served as the principal investigator or Co-PI on several federal and foundation grants, and was named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science. She and her colleagues are currently planning and raising funds for the first randomized trial of poverty reduction in early childhood. Her work linking family income to brain structure across childhood and adolescence has received worldwide attention in the popular press.
Ann Masten is a Regents Professor and the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She completed her doctoral training at the University of Minnesota in clinical psychology and an internship at UCLA. In 1986, she joined the faculty in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, serving as chair of the department from 1999 to 2005.
Masten’s research focuses on understanding processes that promote competence and prevent problems in human development, with a focus on adaptive processes and pathways, developmental tasks and cascades, and resilience in the context of high cumulative risk, adversity, and trauma. She directs the Project Competence Research on Risk and Resilience, including studies of normative populations and high-risk young people exposed to war, natural disasters, poverty, homelessness, and migration. The ultimate objective of her research is to inform sciences, practices, and policies that aim to promote positive development and a better future for children and families whose lives are threatened by adversity.
Masten recently co-chaired the Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally for the U.S. National Academies. She has served as President of the Society for Research in Child Development and President of Division 7 (Developmental) of the American Psychological Association (APA). She is a 2014 recipient of the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from the APA. Author of more than 200 publications, Masten has presented to diverse audiences on the themes of risk and resilience in human development. She regularly teaches a MOOC through Coursera.org on “Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War: Global Perspectives.” She is the author of the 2014 book, “Ordinary Magic: Resilience in Children”, published by Guilford Press.
Karen Brown has been a reporter at New England Public Radio since 1998, focusing primarily on health and mental health issues. She also freelances for NPR, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, NOVA Next, and other national outlets. Brown has produced several radio documentaries that address the effects of trauma, including "Life After Stress: The Biology of Trauma and Resilience," "Never Forget: Holocaust Survivors Contend With New Memories of Past Trauma," and "Love, War, and PTSD: Anna and Peter Mohan.” She was a 2015 Dart Center Ochberg Fellow, a 2012-13 MIT-Knight Fellow in Science Journalism and a 2004-5 Rosalynn Carter Fellow in Mental Health Journalism. She received a Master of Journalism from the University of California at Berkeley in 1996.