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: https://news.virginia.edu/content/brain-development-alzheimers-grad-fellows-take-wide-view
Amalia McDonald receives grant from the UVA Brain Institute
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.