What is our team researching?

smiling boy

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Epigenetics, Polygenic Risk, and Social Experience in Autism Study seeks is the first study of the Hawk-Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at the University of Iowa. The overall goal of this research is to examine how epigenetic and social environment risk markers may contribute to the development of autism

Mother and child running

Oxytocin and Maternal Addiction

This study, currently under analysis, examines the effect of intranasal oxytocin in maternal brain reward and stress activation, and how mothers’ brain and behavioral responses are associated with the development of secure attachment in their own children. The goal of this research is to contribute to the discovery of novel treatments for mothers with drug dependency and addiction.


Pilot Projects

BabySteps App


How do we collect our data?

Our research is interdisciplinary and multi-method.

We collaborate with researchers across the globe on projects that we hope may advance clinical interventions and assessment for parents and children. We employ tools to assess neural activity (fMRI), epigenetics/genetics, and social experience.

To measure social experience and expand access to research participation to rural communities, we use our phone application, BabySteps. On the app, mothers respond to questions about themselves or their child, and they can also record their child's developmental milestones.