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Department of Psychiatry

Department of Psychology

Spring Fling 2013


Are (Bio)markers the Future of

Health Treatment?



Developmental Psychobiology Research Group

Spring Fling

May 14, 2013

8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Academic Office 1, Room L15-7000





  "Are there lasting developmental consequences of fetal exposure to maternal stress hormones?"

Elysia Davis PhD, Associate Professor
University of Denver, Department of Psychology
Dr. Elysia Poggi Davis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. She received her PhD in Developmental Psychobiology at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota and completed a postdoctoral fellowship as the University of California, Irvine. Her research program evaluates the way that biological and behavioral processes during the prenatal period are incorporated into the developmental program and the influence this has on adaptation to the postnatal environment. Specifically, her research has focused on understanding the influence of prenatal exposure to signals of stress on fetal development, birth outcome, and subsequent child and adult health and disease risk, and on the role of maternal-placental-fetal neuroendocrine processes as mediators.  Her research program has been supported by several NIH awards.  Most recently she received an award as Project PI for an NIMH Silvio O. Conte Center for the study of "Fragmented Early Life Environmental and Emotional/Cognitive Vulnerabilities".
"Hippocampal Hyperactivity as a Biomarker for Therapeutic Development in Schizophrenia"
Jason Tregellas PhD, Associate Professor 
University of Colorado, Department of Psychiatry
Dr. Tregellas received his Ph.D. in neuropharmacology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 2003.  Following post-doctoral training at University College London, Dr. Tregellas returned to the University of Colorado for a Developmental Psycho​biology Fellowship, and remained as faculty.  Dr. Tregellas is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, a member of the Neuroscience Program and a VA Research Biologist.  He is an NIH and VA funded investigator, and is Associate Director of the University of Colorado Denver Brain Imaging Denver.  Dr. Tregellas is interested in the development of neuropathology in schizophrenia, including inhibitory dysfunction, the involvement of the cholinergic system, and auditory processing.  He is also interested in food intake behavior, both in schizophrenia and in the general population.  Dr. Tregellas’ lab currently is studying deficits thought to reflect problems in inhibitory processes at the neuronal level. People with schizophrenia often are unable to ignore or filter out unimportant information in the environment. These sensory processing deficits may be related to disease pathology. Dr. Tregellas’ lab uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to better understand pathological processes involved in these sensory processing problems in schizophrenia, and how these problems impair cognition. Studies from his lab have shown that during simple sensory information processing, people with schizophrenia often have overactivity of a network of brain regions including the hippocampus. His group also has shown that this overactivity is reduced by nicotine and other drugs that act at the nicotinic receptor. In collaboration with Dr. Randy Ross, Dr. Tregellas is developing methods to image potential sensory processing problems in infants at high risk for schizophrenia.
"Perinatal Choline as a Universal Intervention to Improve Sensory Gating"
Randy Ross MD, Professor
University of Colorado, Department of Psychiatry 
Dr Ross is the The L McCarty Fairchild Professor of Child Psychiatry and Director of Research and Research Training for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He completed undergraduate training at the University of Colorado Santa Barbara, medical school at Yale, General and Child-and-Adolescent Psychiatry Residencies at the University of Washington, and research fellowships at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Denver VA Medical Center. He has authored or coauthored more than 80 scientific publications and has been the recipient of numerous research grants. His 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, 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, Dr Ross began a process approximately 10 years ago to refocus his towards perinatal brain development. Current work focuses on identifying critical periods during which gene by environment interactions impact early brain development, the last as reflected by physiological endophenotypes, neurocognition, and behavior. Recent additions to this effort include treatment trials of translationally-derived universal prevention strategies. Current directions include: (a) 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; (b) the role of candidate genes in prenatal and infant development; (c) gene by environmental interactions during pregnancy and early infancy; (d) the role of ethnically-related cultural factors as a moderator of gene by environment interactions; (e) new methods for the study of fetal environmental exposure, such as the ability to measure fetal cortisol levels; (f) expansion of methods to measure fetal, infant, and preschool brain development, including physiological, neurocognitive, and behavioral phenotypes; and (g) 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.
"Linking Early Temperament to Adolescent Outcomes: Biomarkers as
Signposts for Developmental Trajectories"
Koraly Pérez-Edgar PhD, Associate Professor  
Penn State University, Department of Psychology
Dr. Perez-Edgar received her A.B. in psychology from Dartmouth College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University.  Dr. Perez-Edgar’s training was under the mentorship of Dr. Jerome Kagan at Harvard University, Dr. Nathan A. Fox at the University of Maryland, and Dr. Daniel S. Pine at the NIMH.  Her research focuses on the relations between temperament and psychopathology. In particular, she examines the role individual differences in attention can work to ameliorate or exacerbate early temperament traits that place children at risk for anxiety.  In conducting her work, Dr. Perez-Edgar has taken a multi-method approach involving direct observation of behavior, cognitive functioning, psychophysiology, and neuroimaging.  Dr. Perez-Edgar is the recipient of numerous awards including an NIMH R01 BRAINS Award, an NIMH K01 Career Development Award, a NARSAD Young Investigator Award, a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

There is no fee to attend, but registration is required!


Please email Melissa Sinclair with the following information:  


    Affiliation: UCD / CU-Boulder / DU / NJMC / Children’s Hospital / Other

    For my entrée I would prefer: Vegetarian / Non-Vegetarian / Will not be attending lunch



 Spring Fling 2009