Meet the Research Team
Chief of Research
Edward Tronick, Ph.D.
Edward Tronick, PhD, is a developmental and clinical psychologist and is recognized internationally as a researcher on infants, children, and parenting. He developed the Face-to-Face Still-Face Paradigm and videotaped micro-analytic studies of infant en face interactions, pioneered studies of the effects of maternal depression on infants, and carried out numerous cross-cultural studies of infant and child development. His Mutual Regulation Model and Dyadic Expansion of Consciousness hypothesis are widely accepted accounts of social interactions and therapeutic processes. Continue Reading...
Director of Research
Nancy Snidman, Ph.D.
Nancy Snidman received her Ph.D. in Learning from the University of California, Los Angeles. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in the Psychology Department at Harvard University she became Research Director for the Infant Study at Harvard where she conducted research for over two decades specializing in the psychophysiological correlates of infant temperament. She is author with Jerome Kagan of The Long Shadow of Temperament (2004) which traces their 25 years of longitudinal studies of behaviorally inhibited and uninhibited children. She was also Director of EEG Research for TRANSCEND (Treatment, Research And NeuroSCience Evaluation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) at Massachusetts General Hospital. The focus of this program was to develop profiles of measures for early identification of autism. Dr. Snidman’s interests include biological correlates of temperament and individual differences, autism, and socio-emotional development. Her research has included typically developing children as well as studies into the relationship between psychobiology and psychopathology with a number of clinical populations including children of parents who have panic attacks or depression, and children with depression, burn trauma and children of international adoptions.
Assistant Research Professors
Cindy Liu, Ph.D.
Dr. Cindy Liu received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon, completed her clinical internship at McLean Hospital, and her postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston. Dr. Liu’s research focuses on culture and socioemotional development, and race and ethnic disparities as related to maternal and child mental health. Her program of research incorporates data ranging from behavioral and physiological data collected from the laboratory to population level variable from large survey research. One observational study, the Asian American Temperament Study, investigated the role of infant temperament on infant behavioral and physiological response to mothers during the Still-Face Paradigm in Chinese Americans and European Americans. Dr. Liu is also leading a project investigating risk factors for perinatal depression and predictors of health utilization by race and ethnicity, and implications for mental health screening. As a recipient of an R21 from the National Institutes of Health and a seed grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she will be evaluating biological measures of chronic stress in mothers and infants here at the Child Development Unit through her Hair Cortisol Study.
Jennifer DiCorcia, Ph.D.
Jennifer received her PhD in Experimental Psychology at Tufts University and recently completed her postdoctoral training at Children’s Hospital Boston. Her research interests consider the building blocks of emotion development and how this development may be affected by individual differences within the developing infant (e.g., physiological reactivity, temperament). Specifically how we come to attend to, recognize, use, and eventually regulate emotions. Since working at the Child Development Unit, Jennifer’s research interests have expanded to include the influence of the mother-infant dyad and how individual differences within their relationship, both intrinsic and extrinsic, may affect subsequent emotion development. Along with her work at the unit, Jennifer is currently a professor of statistics at UMass Boston as well.
Erin graduated from The University of Massachusetts in Boston with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. After graduating she received her certification in infant/toddler and preschool teaching. She spent a year and a half working as an infant/toddler teacher at The Children's Center at Milton Academy. She began her work as a Research Coordinator for The Child Development Unit in 2007 at its Children’s Hospital Boston location and has continued her work at its new home at UMASS Boston. She has been involved in such projects as The Memory Study, The EEG Memory Study, The Reactivity Study and the Asian-American Temperament Study. Erin welcomed her first child, Mia, in February of 2012.
Emily received a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. After graduating, Emily worked as an Intervention Specialist providing behavior therapy to children diagnosed with Autism. Her interest in the field of Autism then led Emily to join the TRANSCEND Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital where she worked as a Study Research Coordinator. There she gained experience administering cognitive, behavioral, and language assessments to children with and without Autism. She also helped children to complete the study procedures which included MRI, MEG, and EEG. In 2008, Emily joined the Child Development Unit at Children’s Hospital Boston as a Research Coordinator and moved with the lab to UMass Boston in 2012. Here at the unit, Emily feels fortunate to continue combining her interests in research and working with children and has found working with infants particularly interesting. She looks forward to learning more about infant and child development through her involvement with current and future studies. In her spare time, Emily enjoys traveling, playing volleyball, and baking.
Emily is a graduate from Tufts University in Medford, MA, where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Child Development. As an undergraduate, Emily was a board member of the university's Child Development Association as well as a research assistant in the Emotion, Brain, and Behavior Lab where she worked on research projects with participants ranging from ten years old to sixty years old. Her primary interest has always been in children, though, and she eventually hopes to receive her PHD in Counseling Psychology and work as a child or family therapist. She is particularly interested in gender issues and alternative families. In her spare time, she enjoys running, swimming, and traveling.
Gabriela Fiszbein, Lab Intern
Gabi is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She has been given the opportunity to join the Child Development Unit through Northeastern’s cooperative education program. Gabi has always been interested in studying and working with children and adolescents, and hopes to become a child psychologist. At Northeastern, Gabi has participated in Alternative Spring Break for two years, volunteering at a day care in Honduras, and hopes to continue her work there in the future. Although Gabi was born in the US, her family is from Argentina, where she lived for three years. This has prompted her interest in traveling and being exposed to different cultures. Along with traveling, Gabi enjoys reading, watching TV and movies, and spending time with her family and friends.
Allison Rodgers, Lab Intern
Allison is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University. She is majoring in psychology and minoring in English. She came to the Child Development Unit as part of Northeastern’s cooperative education program. Within the field of psychology, Allison is particularly interested in linguistics and neuroscience. She finds research as well as clinical aspects of psychology intriguing. Throughout her education, Allison has been given the opportunity to experience diverse cultures, study subjects, and work environments. She is very excited to be a part of the great team here at the Child Development Unit. In her spare time Allison enjoys traveling and exploring new restaurants and recipes.
Akhila V. Sravish, M.A.
Akhila was born and raised in Mumbai, India, and relocated to the United Stated for graduate school. She is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, under the mentorship of Ed Tronick. Her academic career began as an Engineering and Biological Sciences dual-major undergraduate at BITS Pilani in India, where she was pursuing a career in Bioinformatics. However, she became more interested in direct patient care and decided to study psychology. In an attempt to integrate several years of Indian classical dance training with her interest in psychology, she completed a graduate degree in Creative Arts in Therapy, with a specialization in Dance/Movement Therapy, at Drexel University. She has since worked with children, adolescents and families in a variety of mental healthcare settings in the US and in India. Akhila’s current clinical training is focused on treatment of childhood psychopathology as well as psychological and neuropsychological assessment. Her current research in the Child Development Unit is focused on studying social and emotional development in infants within the framework of the infant-parent dyadic relationship. She is also a recent graduate of the Infant-Parent Mental Health fellowship program. In her spare time, Akhila enjoys blogging, traveling, and performing and teaching Indian classical dance
Karim received his bachelor's degree in Sociology from Wheaton College and his master's degree in Psychology from Adelphi University. He is pursuing his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Fielding Graduate University. Dr. Edward Tronick is his dissertation Chair. His research expereince includes having worked in a radiology lab at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, where he earned co-authorships on studies focusing on developing image-guided, minimally invasive therapies for malignant cancerous diseases. In the Child Development Unit lab, Karim is participating in a research project that examines depressed mothers and their infant interactins in a naturalistic home setting. His dissertation - the Infant Social-Referencing study - is investigating infant social referencing and memory of mother-stranger interactions. His clinical and administrative experience includes having worked in FEGS and YAI in New York City, which provide an array of healthcare services (e.g., psychological assessment, residential treatment) for people with developmental disabilities. Additionally, his clinical psychology experience includes having worked with diverse psychiatric populations in New York University/Bellevue Hospital and Albert Einstein School of Medicine/Jacobi Medical Center. He will be completing his clinical psychology internship at the University of Connecticut Medical School's Institute of Living/Connecticut Children's Hospital/Hartford Hospital.
Fernanda received her B.A. in developmental psychology from Duke University and her M.A. in psychology, with a concentration in biopsychology, from New York University. Her master’s thesis focused on the early trends of language development in Latino toddlers from different national origins. She holds certificates in early childhood education and health policy from Duke University. She has recently joined the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at University of Massachusetts Boston, during which Dr. Ed Tronick will serve as her mentor. Fernanda was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and, from an early age, has enjoyed travelling and learning about different cultures. She is passionate about working with young children. After spending two years working with immigrant mothers and their infants in New York City, Fernanda has developed great interest for cross-cultural developmental issues. She is also interested in developmental neuropsychology and plans to pursue this field as a clinician and researcher.