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Karen L Bierman

Karen L Bierman

Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies Director, Child Study Center School Readiness Initiative Director

Dr. Bierman's research program focuses on social-emotional development and children at risk, with an emphasis on the design and evaluation of school- and community-based programs that promote social competence, school readiness and positive intergroup relations while reducing aggression and violence.  Currently, she is the principal investigator for the Head-Start REDI program (promoting school readiness with classroom-based and parent-focused intervention) and the FRIENDS project (promoting self-regulation among children with elevated attention-deficit hyperactivity symptoms).  Dr. Bierman directs the TIES interdisciplinary predoctoral training program, and co-directs the Focus On Learning program (using family-focused intervention to promote reading readiness among at-risk kindergarten children), and the PATHS to Success program (a violence prevention program that uses coordinated school-based and family-focused intervention to promote the adjustment of children with aggressive behavior problems). She served as the principal investigator for the Pennsylvania site of the Fast Track program and oversees the School Readiness research initiative. Dr. Bierman is the Director for the Child Study Center.

Curriculum Vitae

Laureen Teti

Laureen Teti

Assistant Director, Child Study Center

Dr. Laureen Teti studies children’s emotion regulation and its relation to parent-child interactions in a variety of high risk families, including children prenatally exposed to cocaine and low-income urban African-American adolescent mothers. She has worked since 2005 with a small group of Penn State faculty to promote relations between the African American community in Harrisburg and child clinical and developmental researchers at the Child Study Center, which resulted in the establishment in 2007 of Parents and Children Together (PACT), a community-university partnership which includes representatives from early childhood agencies, parents, and other key leaders from the African American community in Harrisburg, PA. In her role as the CSC’s Assistant Director, Dr. Teti facilitates initiative activities and events as well as organizes the CSC’s Speaker Series.

Curriculum Vitae

Diane Plummer

Diane Plummer

Administrative Assistant, Child Study Center

Diane has been at Penn State for more than 15 years and has been working at the Child Study Center since August 2002. Her responsibilities range from managing daily office procedures to supporting research and education needs for faculty as well as for graduate and undergraduate students. She provides direct support to the Director and Assistant Director, communicates and collaborates among campus units, and serves as liaison for visitors and guests at the Center.

Amanda Goble

Amanda Goble

Program Manager and Grants Specialist, Child Study Center

Amanda Goble, a Penn State alum and former Campaign Director at the Society for Leukemia & Lymphoma, joined the CSC as our Grants Specialist in February 2011. In her role as CSC grants specialist, Amanda will work with CSC faculty on both pre- and post-award budgets, and help with the development of grant application work plans, among other things.

Jacqui McKee

Jacqui McKee

Research Assistant, Child Study Center

Jacqui has been working at the Child Study Center since January 2010. She was initially hired to work in the coding lab on Dr. Bierman’s School Readiness projects. In July 2012, Jacqui started as the CSC’s Research Assistant. Her responsibilities as an RA include managing the FIRSt Families database, as well as editing the CSC’s website.



CSC Initiative Directors

Pamela Cole

Pamela Cole

Liberal Arts Research Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies Pathways to Competence Initiative Director

Dr. Cole studies emotional development in early childhood, focusing on how children learn to regulate their emotions, including the role of children’s language and attention skills and the contributions of parents as they interact with their children.  Her work continues to include conceptual work on the nature and measurement of self-regulation, particularly as a dynamic, unfolding process, and empirical work, particularly the development of young typically developing children and children who are at risk for emotional problems.  At present, she is leading five projects with her team of co-investigators and graduate students:  the Development of Toddlers (DOTS) study followed children from age 18 months to age 5 years, tracing changes in children’s anger and ability to regulate anger and examining the role of language in that process.  Another line of work examines parental emotions and the strategies parents use to cope with parenting challenges.  More recently, she has developed an interest the effects of parental anger on children's neural processing and behavior.  She also is conducting pilot work to determine if we can distinguish irritability from normative anger in toddlerhood, and analyzing data from a large cross-cultural study of maternal conceptions of child competence and the role of emotion in those conceptions.  In addition, Dr. Cole leads the Pathways to Competence (P2C) research initiative and participates in the Parenting at Risk research initiative.  Her P2C group meets biweekly throughout the year to provide intellectual support to faculty members developing new projects and applying for external funding.  Read an interview with Dr. Cole.

Curriculum Vitae

Douglas M Teti

Douglas M Teti

Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Psychology and Pediatrics Head, Department of Human Development and Family Studies Families at Risk Initiative Director

Dr. Doug Teti studies infant and childhood socio-emotional development in low and high-risk contexts. His work investigates parental influences on infants and children, looking specifically at the impact of parental competence, mental health, and child and ecological factors.  He is currently the principal investigator on several ongoing projects:  SIESTA (Study of Infants' Emergent Sleep TrAjectories, funded by NICHD), Project Touch (infant massage and its impact on infant stress reactivity, the immune system, and the parent-infant relationship, funded by Penn State's Clinical and Translational Science Institute), and Minds Of Mothers Study (MOMS) (mothers’ emotional regulation as indexed by prefrontal cortical EEG asymmetry, funded by NICHD). Dr. Teti regularly meets with faculty both as a group and individually as part of the Families at Risk research initiative to provide feedback and ideas for researchers developing grant applications.

Curriculum Vitae

Rick Gilmore

Rick Gilmore

Associate Professor of Psychology Director, Social Life and Engineering Imaging Center Human Developmental Neuroscience Initiative Director

Dr. Gilmore studies the neuroscience of perception, action planning, and memory in infants and children—specifically, the development of visual spatial perception. His work involves neuroimaging (both MRI & EEG) as well as behavioral and computational methods.  Dr. Gilmore is currently Director of the Social, Life, & Engineering Sciences Imaging Center. In his role as Lead Faculty of the Human Developmental Neuroscience research initiative at the Child Study Center, Dr. Gilmore has organized workshops on fMRI techniques and using fMRI and EEG in behavorial research and hosts a weekly imaging talk series and journal club.

Curriculum Vitae

Jenae Neiderhiser

Jenae Neiderhiser

Liberal Arts Research Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies Gene Environment Research Initiative Co-Director

Dr. Neiderhiser is interested in understanding the interplay between genes and environment throughout the lifespan. The environmental influences that she has examined most closely are interpersonal relationships – including parent-child, spouse, sibling and peer relationships. Examining how individuals influence their environments, in part because of their genetically-influenced characteristics (genotype-environment correlation), has long been a focus of her work. The studies that have been used to examine these research questions include the following three sets of studies: The Nonshared Environment in Adolescent Development (NEAD) project; the Young Adult Sibling Study (YASS) and the Twin/Offspring Study in Sweden (TOSS). Finally, the Early Growth and Development Study is a prospective, longitudinal study of 559 sets of adopted children, their adoptive families and birth parents. All of these studies include extensive assessment of the environment within the household, interpersonal relationships, adult and child adjustment, temperament and personality and other related measures. DNA has also been collected or will be collected for these samples.

H Harrington (Bo) Cleveland

H Harrington (Bo) Cleveland

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Gene Environment Research Initiative Co-Director

Dr. Cleveland’s research focuses on the intersection of genetic and environmental influences. He is particularly interested in the contextual moderation of both genetic and shared environmental influences on adolescent risk behaviors. A related interest is using genetically informative designs to examine causal hypotheses and putative mechanisms regarding the links between adolescent experiences and later outcomes, both positive and negative. Before coming to Penn State, Dr. Cleveland published a series of studies that suggest evocative and active G-E correlations involving received parenting and exposure to peer substance use. He has extended this line of research at Penn State by leading the efforts (with David Vandenbergh and Mark Feinberg) to add candidate genes to the PROSPER study (developed by Mark Greenberg). Adding candidate genes (e.g., DRD4, DAT1) to the quasi-experimental design of PROSPER creates a novel opportunity to examine gene-environment transactions involving family and peer contexts from early adolescence to young adulthood.

Kristin Buss

Kristin Buss

Professor, Psychology Director of PACT and Harrisburg Center for Healthy Child Development

Dr. Kristin Buss is interested in emotional development and temperamental variation from birth through early childhood. Her work spans multiple areas of research within social development, psychobiology, and neuroscience. Her current work is focused on the development of risk for adjustment problems, with particular focus on the development of anxiety symptoms for children with fearful temperaments. This work has implications for identifying which fearful children are at risk for developing anxiety problems. Kristin is also the Director of the Harrisburg Center for Healthy Child Development and Parents and Children Together (PACT). In this capacity she oversees a community-university partnership to encourage communication and trust between university researchers and Harrisburg community members. Kristin is also the PI on a community-based participatory research pilot examining factors that influence children’s anxiety in a high risk underserved communities and Co-PI on two anxiety prevention projects.

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