Dr Strathearn is Professor of Pediatrics and the Division Director for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Iowa, as well as 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.
He is the Director of the Attachment and Neurodevelopment Lab, and 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 most recent research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health examines maternal brain responses of drug-addicted mothers, and the potential role of intranasal oxytocin to enhance parental caregiving.