top of page

Lab News

Josh Danoff received PhD

February 2, 2023

Josh successfully defended his dissertation titled "Epigenetic and neurodevelopmental consequences of early life experiences." Congrat,s Dr. Danoff!

Emma Whelan wins Maury Pathfinder Award

December 5, 2022

Emma's predissertation titled "A molecular mechanism of Oxtr gene regulation through a single CpG site" wont the department's Maury Pathfinder Award for best predissertation. Congrat,s Emma! 

Amalia Skyberg received PhD

April 21, 2022

Amalia successfully defended her dissertation titled "An epigenetic mechanism for differential neural maturation and socio-emotional development in childhood". Congrats, Dr. Skyberg!

NSF Grant awarded to faculty team to expand graduate education in life sciences

September 3, 2020

A team of faculty including Dr. Connelly, Dr. Laura Galloway, Dr. Butch Brodie, and Dr. Deborah Roach were awarded a 3 million dollar grant aimed at expanding graduate research opportunities aimed at understanding phenotypes. The grant allows for a new curriculum in graduate life sciences using multidisciplinary approaches to understanding how phenotypes develop and vary. The grant will also allow for a focus on career development and recruitment of graduate students. Read more here.

Katie receives STAR Grant

June 3, 2020

Katie's grant, titled “Nurturing the Epigenetic Architecture Underlying Social Development”, was selected for funding through the UVA Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) Pilot Award program. The abstract for the grant is below. Congrats, Katie!

Decades of research tout the profound effects early caregiving experience can exert on offspring physiology, neurodevelopment, and behavior. One such system impacted by parental care is endogenous oxytocin, known as a crucial regulator of human social behavior and cognition. Our group has identified a naturally varying epigenetic mark on the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR DNA methylation) that is heightened in autistic individuals, suggesting a reduction in oxytocin receptor availability. Recently, we found this mark to be dynamic in infancy and sensitive to naturally occurring variation in maternal care, positing a mechanism by which early experience can “get under the skin” to impact social development. We aim to capitalize on these initial findings by designing an intervention study, with the ultimate goal of identifying simple, targeted aspects of parental care that can dramatically impact the establishment of early oxytocin function – quite literally impacting the molecular underpinnings of social behavior.

Dr. Connelly receives UVA Research Collaboration Award

January 30, 2020

Dr. Connelly, along with Dr. James Morris and Dr. Tobias Grossman, received UVA's inaugural research collaboration award for their work on the development of the brain and social behaviors in infancy. Read more here!

Katie's study covered by UVA news

November 7, 2019

Katie's study on dynamics of OXTR DNA methylation dynamics in infancy was covered by UVA news and featured on UVA's homepage! Read more here. Congratulations, Katie!

Meghan Puglia receives PhD

May 17, 2019

Meghan Puglia successfully defended her dissertation titled "The noisy brain in infancy: A neurobiological marker of normative social development." Congratulations, Dr. Puglia!

Josh Danoff wins "Neuroscience as Art" contest

April 29, 2019

Josh's picture of oxytocin and vasopressin immunoreactivity won the most votes in the "Neuroscience as Art" contest. Congratulations, Josh!

Kelly Wroblewski receives PhD

April 18, 2019

Kelly Wroblewski successfully defended her dissertation titled "Early life experiences alters epigenetic variation and gene expression of the oxytocin receptor gene." Congratulations, Dr. Wroblewski!

Katie Krol receives Hartwell Postdoctoral Fellowship

June 22, 2018

Katie Krol received the exceptionally prestigious Hartwell Postdoctoral Fellowship for her project titled Exploring plasticity of the oxytocin receptor in infancy and motherhood. UVA only endorses one fellow each year.  Congratulations, Katie!  Read more here.

Meghan Puglia's paper published in Translational Psychiatry

June 15, 2018

Meghan's paper titled "Epigenetic regulation of the oxytocin receptor is associated with neural response during selective social attention" was published in Translational Psychiatry.  Read more about it here.  Congratulations, Meghan!

Sarah Coe-Odess' Brain Fellowship Renewed

June 15, 2018

Sarah's fellowship to study the relationship between OXTR methylation and psychological outcomes in adolescence was renewed.  Congratulations, Sarah!

Katie Lancaster receives PhD

April 26, 2018

Katie Lancaster successfully defended her thesis, titled "The Social Regulation of Emotion and Its Importance for Human Health".  She will join the Kessler Foundation as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Traumatic Brain Injury Research.  Congratulations, Dr. Lancaster!

Marlen Gonzalez accepts faculty position at Cornell

April 15, 2018

Graduate student Marlen Gonzales accepted an assistant professorship at Cornell University.  Congratulations, Marlen!

Meghan Puglia featured in UVAToday

January 8, 2018

Meghan was featured in an article describing the interdisciplinary research projects within the UVA Brain Institute.  Read more here:

Amalia McDonald receives grant from the UVA Brain Institute

December 2017

Amalia received a grant from the UVA Brain Institute to study the relationship between OXTR methylation and neural activation patterns of emotion processing and social cognition in children.  

bottom of page