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Elisabeth Conradt

Title: Associate Professor
College: Social & Behavioral Science
School / Department: Psychology
Mentoring Philosophy:

Research Interests

I am interested in how some children seem to thrive, while others succumb to the effects of early life stress. I study physiological risk and protective factors of early life stress exposure, to identify who may be particularly susceptible to the development of psychopathology. My research program includes the study of populations exposed to diverse forms of early life stress, disproportionately represented in populations of low socio-economic status including infants of mothers with depression and infants with prenatal substance exposure. Given that individual differences in how one responds physiologically to stress can inform the development of psychopathology, it is important to investigate the mechanisms that drive the development of this response. I therefore incorporate epigenetic methods in my work with the goal of uncovering how both adaptive and maladaptive responses to stress may form in infants and young children. Epigenetics is defined as the environmental control of genetic expression. Ultimately, I expect to uncover sensitive developmental periods and identify particularly pernicious forms of stress that, when targeted for preventative intervention, will mitigate the negative health effects of poverty-related early life stress.

Opportunities for Students

I am not accepting new students this cycle.

Students have the opportunity to learn more about the fields of behavioral epigenetics and psychobiology with the goal of carving their own research niche in these areas. We have two large-scale, prospective longitudinal studies spanning the prenatal period to early childhood with large amounts of behavioral, physiological, epigenetic, and hormone data from which students can publish. Students will learn about how early life stress experienced by the mother while pregnant may shape infant physiological susceptibilities to their early environment. Students will learn about epigenetic and physiological methods with pregnant women and with infants. More information about these studies can be found at