I’m really interested in is how our biology interacts with our environments to shape the people we become over time. I’m especially interested in the transition from childhood to adolescence when kids are entering a part of their lives where they: 

Have increased freedom / less parental supervision Come to be more strongly influenced by their peers and friends and what their peers and friends think of them Experience changes in rates of brain development, with parts of the brain tied to emotions and reward processing outpacing development of parts of the brain tied to impulse control and self-regulation Undergo all sorts of hormonally-driven changes to their physiology and stress response system activity, which feeds back into brain function and development.

Understanding the convergence of these factors and how they all interact is really what’s at the heart of my research program.

We focus on understanding and supporting optimal development across the lifespan using multidisciplinary approaches and cutting edge methodologies. Our core areas include the intersections of individuals, families, and communities, with a special focus on relationships and the biopsychosocial underpinnings of healthy development and well-being.

Research Interest:

  • Child and adolescent development
  • Decision making and risk-taking behavior
  • Developmental methodology

Research Projects:

  • Developmental studies of decision making and risky behavior
  • Child sleep as a mechanism and moderator in the development of health disparities.
  • A longitudinal examination of a dual-process model of attentional bias in PTSD
  • Context effects on adolescent decision making: Neuroimaging pilot studies
Human Development
PhD, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Human Development and Family Studies, 2008
MS, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Human Development and Family Studies, 2005
BS, Clemson University, Psychology, 2002
adolescents developmental psychology developmental neurobiology child development