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Faculty Name

Randy Ross, MD

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Training Program Director Professor




Description of Research

My research is focused on the prenatal and early childhood developmental brain pathways to impaired behavior and psychiatric illness . Originally focused on a single disease (schizophrenia) and on the adolescent period just before onset of psychosis, our work over the last several years has suggested that one critical period is perinatal, and that the same processes underlying attentional deficits in schizophrenia overlaps with the developmental perturbations leading to behavioral dysfunction relative to a variety of adverse health outcomes including psychiatric outcomes such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder and medical outcomes including low birth weight and premature birth. As a result, we began a process approximately 10 years ago to refocus our lab towards perinatal brain development. Thus, our work focus on identifying critical periods during which gene by environment interactions impact early brain development, the last as reflected by physiological endophenotypes, neurocognition, and behavior. A long-term goal is to use this type of approach to develop and test focused empirically-based novel primary prevention strategies. Current directions in the lab include:

  1. How maternal stress, including psychosocial stress, anxiety, and infections—impact prenatal and infant development and lead to increased or decreased risk for later psychiatric illness
  2. The role of candidate genes in prenatal and infant development
  3. Gene by environmental interactions during pregnancy and early infancy
  4. The role of ethnically-related cultural factors as a moderator of gene by environment interactions
  5. New methods for the study of fetal environmental exposure, such as the ability to measure fetal cortisol levels
  6. Expansion of methods to measure fetal, infant, and preschool brain development, including physiological, neurocognitive, and behavioral phenotypes
  7. Assessment of interventions during pregnancy, including pharmacologic treatment and nutritional supplementation, on fetal and infant development in areas relevant to risk for later psychiatric illness



Treatment; Phenomenology; Biomarkers: Human and Animal Models

Clinical and special developmental populations

ADHD; Adolescents; Anxiety; Bipolar; Child; Depression; Hispanic; Infant; Pregnancy; Preschool; Schizophrenia


Building 500, Room E4303

Contact email

Faculty/Lab Website

Ross Lab webpage

Post-doctoral trainees

Carol Beresford, MD
Toni Backman, PhD
Kimberly D'Anna (co-sponsor)

Research Topic

Perinatal and school age precursors to schizophrenia

Mentor since



​University of Colorado School of Medicine

Contact Number


Faculty Picture

Randy Ross, MD

DPRG Website

Ross DPRG webpage

Department website

Ross Department webpage


Created at 8/15/2012 1:56 PM by Greco-Sanders, Linda
Last modified at 4/17/2014 11:30 AM by Greco-Sanders, Linda