Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Dr. Strathearn is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and the Director of the Attachment and Neurodevelopment Lab. His research and clinical work focuses on the neurobiology of mother-infant attachment, and neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism. This includes a longitudinal study of women and their infants, examining maternal brain and hormone responses to infant facial expressions using functional MRI. His work explores the development of attachment behavior, and how drugs of abuse may highjack these relationships. He is also studying the long-term effects of child maltreatment on cognitive and emotional development, and early childhood factors that may help to protect against abuse or neglect. His research has drawn upon the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP) birth cohort of over 8000 mothers and children who have been followed over 20 years. His current research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health examines maternal brain responses of drug-addicted mothers, the potential role of intranasal oxytocin to enhance parental caregiving, and epigenetic risk markers for autism. Dr. Strathearn is Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Pharmacology, and Psychological and Brain Sciences. He is also the Division Director for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Iowa, co-director of the Hawkeye Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (Hawk-IDDRC), and Physician Director of the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. He holds the William E. Bell/Gail A. McGuiness Endowed Chair for Pediatric Neurodevelopment.
Administrative Assistant, Hawkeye Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center
Paula O'Brien is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She spent 10 years working in morning news before transitioning to public relations and marketing. She and her husband, Matt, a psychologist here at UIHC, have two children and recently moved here from the Quad Cities. Fun fact: Paula lived on a cruise ship as part of the entertainment staff.
Neuroscience Graduate Student
Favorite thing about being on the research team: Sydney says everyone in the ANL is very kind and supportive of each other. If you ever need a coffee run, you'll probably have a friend to come with you. Fun fact: She wishes she had synesthesia.
Favorite part about being on the research team: Tanner loves digging deep into the Autism research study. A lot of work and school can be superficial, but this is different. Not only is the work interesting, but he feels like he is working as a part of something bigger, helping to uncover a piece to the puzzle that will help individuals and families dealing with these disabilities to live a higher quality life. Fun fact: Him and his wife have two little boys, and they all love spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, or cycling. They all recently moved from Idaho and have been enjoying discovering what the Midwest has to offer!
Pediatric Resident Physician
For her undergraduate degree, Melinda attended University of California in Los Angeles where she recieved a B.S. in Neuroscience. She also attended University of California, Riverside School of Medicine where she recieved her medical doctorate. Favorite thing about being on the research team: This research lab is very collaborative. The undergraduates, graduate students and faculty are innovative, personable, and intelligent. I enjoy attending weekly lab meetings and hearing updates from everyone. Fun fact: She loves traveling! She has been to 10 countries and 29 out of 50 states in the United States.