Moriah Thomason is the Barakett Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Population Health in the New York University School of Medicine. She formerly served as Director of the Perinatal Neural Connectivity Unit within the intramural Perinatology Research Branch of NICHD/NIH, where she established a pregnancy cohort of more than 300 culturally and racially diverse women and their children and developed methodology for examining human brain functional circuitry before birth. Her current NIH projects examine developmental disease origins and environmental programming of early human brain development. In particular, her projects are focused on the effects of stress and trauma, socioeconomic risk, and chemical exposures on child neurobehavioral development and health.
Dr. Thomason received her undergraduate training at UC Berkeley, and her graduate and postdoctoral training at Stanford and MIT in Neuroscience. She has over twenty-one years of experience performing MRI studies and neuropsychological assessments in children from fetal life through adolescence. Her work has been featured on NPR All Things Considered, BBC World Service, Huffington Post, MIT Technology Review, New Scientist, and most recently, in Science, Nature Medicine and National Geographic. She is a standing member of the Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities (CPDD) study section within the Center for Scientific Review, and in 2019 received the honor of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the Office of the President of the United States.
The work of Dr. Thomason’s research group is human centered and stems from an interest in determining how function across multiple, distributed brain networks impact the individual developmental trajectories of children. The goals of her team’s research aim to understand how the maturation of wide-scale neural networks coincide with developmental outcomes in childhood through the identification of characteristics related to cognitive ability and the early onset of emotional psychopathology. Through this work and over the course of her career, the apparent and significant role of the environment on early neurodevelopment has motivated Dr. Thomason to establish her team with an integrity for research that is grounded in collective values for social responsibility and community.
The contributions of Dr. Thomason and her team, along with collaborative efforts with a network of researchers across the world, work actively towards the advancement of open science. Most recently, being at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic in the hardest-hit US city has spurred initiation of rapid data sharing efforts through development of the Covid-19 Perinatal Experiences (COPE) Open Science Framework (OSF) repository and establishment of the expanding international COVID Generation Alliance (COVGEN) at www.covgen.org.
CARLY JADE LENNIGER
Lab Manager, Research Associate
Carly graduated early from Barnard College, Columbia University in December 2018 with a degree in Psychology. During her time as an undergraduate, Carly developed a strong interest in developmental neuroscience and psychology, specifically in high risk child and adolescent populations. This led to her involvement as a research assistant with several labs at Columbia, studying topics such as early life stress, social/emotional development, and the brain-gut axis. At Nim Tottenham’s Developmental and Affective Neuroscience Lab Carly gained experience in biospecimen collection, fMRI, and behavioral data coding, which led to her current role. Outside of the BEE Lab, she works as a Crisis Text Line counselor where she has put in over 100 hours of counseling work! In the next year Carly plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology studying early life stress, adolescence, and mood disorders both at the neural and behavioral level.
Carly fosters hard-to-place large breed dogs in NYC. The biggest was a 90lb Newfoundland named Fluffy!
Social Worker, Project Coordinator
Tessa received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Manhattan College and her master's degree in Social Work from New York University. She specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families, and her clinical interests are in providing evidenced based, trauma informed interventions to under served populations. Tessa has worked across child welfare, healthcare, and social service systems in New York City for over five years, and her exposure to mental health disparities among system involved youths inspired her towards research.
As the team's Social Worker and Project Coordinator, Tessa is committed to the engagement of diverse and under represented groups in research in order to facilitate culturally competent services and inform future interventions.
Cassie received her B.S. from Oglethorpe University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Emory University. Her research explores the mechanisms by which adversity increases child psychiatric risk within and across generations, as well as the factors that shape how infants and children respond to adversity. She is particularly interested in identifying markers of risk and resilience early in life – when the brain may be especially responsive to interventions – and she prioritizes working with families who experience health disparities. Her dissertation used MRI to non-invasively examine how different adverse experiences from a mother’s life shape the development of her infant’s brain within the first few weeks after birth. She has received multiple awards for this work, including an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, APF Koppitz Dissertation Award, and AAUW American Dissertation Fellowship. Cassie is excited to extend this line of research in the Baby Bees Lab to better understand the mechanisms underlying the transmission of adversity from mothers to their children and the aspects of brain development that confer resilience in fetuses and infants. As a clinical psychologist, Cassie is also highly skilled in infant and child assessment as well as in the treatment of child and adolescent anxiety, depression, and mood dysregulation.
Denise completed her PhD in Cognitive Science at Brown University working under the supervision of Dr. Dima Amso. Her dissertation work focused on how the prefrontal cortex and associated executive functions support learning and attention as early as infancy. She examined these questions using behavioral, eye tracking, computational, and neuroimaging methods. In her postdoctoral work, she is interested in establishing how developing neural and behavioral systems are shaped by experience and environmental factors, such as maternal health, parenting practices, stress/adversity, and socioeconomic status.
Autumn received her B.A. in Psychology from Barnard College, Columbia University in 2017. After graduation she worked in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) doing in-home therapy for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis. This experience led her to pursue graduate school and return to research. She is currently a Master’s student at New York University studying Psychology with a clinical concentration. In the Baby Bees Lab, Autumn oversees REDCap survey distribution and the COVGEN Research Alliance, while also writing her thesis. Autumn’s thesis focuses on sex differences in fetal MRI amygdala connectivity in toddlers with ASD traits. Soon Autumn plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
In her free time Autumn loves to rock climb and care for her plants!
Integra is a recent graduate from Georgetown University mastering in Systems Medicine. She completed her B.A in Biology with a Chinese Minor at Montclair State University in 2019. Integra is currently a Research Associate in Dr. Moriah Thomason's Baby BEEs lab.
Her goals include obtaining her MD and pursuing a career in Women's reproductive health.
Education: New York University, Psychology, May 2020
Projects: Data Acquisition Team, COPE, Baby BEES, REDCap
Ericka enjoys doing photography, watching anime, and drawing/doing crafts in her free time!
Education: New York University, College of Arts and Sciences, May 2021
Projects: Data Acquisition Team
Arjun is a “tri-state lifer,” and was born in Pennsylvania, raised in New Jersey, and attends university in New York.
FRIDA GALAVIZ HUERTA
Education: New York University, Psychology, May 2022
Projects: Data Processing Team, Baby BEES
Frida is a junior at NYU who is fascinated by everything relating to neuroscience, linguistics, and child & adolescent mental health. She also loves baking and playing League of Legends with her twin sister in her free time!
Education: New York University, Chemistry, Global Public Health, Genetics, and Child Adolescent Mental Health Studies, May 2021
Projects: Data Acquisition Team, Baby BEES, Engagement Groups (Live in the Hive), REDCap (payments, data engagement & management)
Sarwat is a big trivia fan (has watched almost all Jeopardy shows since age 7) and loves to bake!
Education: New York University, Applied Psychology, May 2023
Caroline loves traveling, reading, and doing paint by numbers in her free time!
Education: New York University, College of Arts and Sciences, May 2021
Projects: Data Acquisition Team, Biospecimen Collection
Susell loves oil painting and recently started practicing ink and marker calligraphy. She also enjoys reading about biblical theology.
Education: New York University, Honors Psychology, Sociology and Child Adolescent Mental Health Studies, May 2021
Projects: Data Acquisition Team, Baby BEES, Social Media Manager, REDCap
Alexis loves to listen to true crime podcasts, go on walks and bake gluten free cakes!
Education: New York University, Global Public Health & Sociology, Bioethics & Chemistry, May 2021
Projects: COPE Study, Biospecimen Collection, REDCap, Social Media, Translations
Fun Fact: Michael enjoys visiting museums, de-stressing by playing Animal Crossing, and left the country for the first time this year!