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Tulane News & Press

  1. In her cross-disciplinary Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Laboratory (BANGL), Dr. Stacy Drury and her colleagues study the relationship between childhood experiences and genetic and epigenetic factors, striving to understand how this shapes a child’s long-term development and health.
  2. The VPI has won a grant from the Pincus Family Foundation to create a Violence Prevention Scholarship which connects graduate students with VPI faculty and community partners! This interdisciplinary program will be based in the Master's of Public Health program, but will integrate faculty from across all schools at Tulane, particularly the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the School of Medicine and the School of Social Work. Scholars will be immersed in an innovative new training initiative focused on building skills to effectively integrate with community organizations and co-develop programs designed to mitigate the effects of violence and, in the long-term, prevent the intergenerational transmission of violence and its health impacts. The initiative will focus on the lives of children throughout New Orleans, with an emphasis on Central City, and places throughout the city where children are most affected by violence.
  3. Children who are exposed to family violence and instability experience critical DNA changes that could hasten mental and physical illness. That's according to a new study of 80 New Orleans area children published Monday in Pediatrics, the medical journal of the American Association of Pediatrics. Dr. Stacy Drury, director of the Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Laboratory at Tulane University, led the research as part of ongoing work with Dr. Katherine Theall, a social epidemiologist at Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
  4. Researchers have found the amount of violence in a neighborhood can directly impact a child biologically, so much so, that the rate of violence directly correlates to the length of telomeres at the end of a child’s chromosomes. “We have evidence that there are changes in the actual DNA in the cells within each child. We have evidence that it changes how children's stress response systems work,” said Stacy Drury, the Associate Director of the Tulane Brain Institute.
  5. New research suggests that early severe social deprivation may impact DNA modifications that affect the expression of stress-related genes. "Our results are consistent with an increasing body of research in both human and preclinical animal models that suggests that these early experiences, particularly related to early caregiving, leave molecular traces, visible across the life course, that likely influence a range of biological, physiological, and behavioral processes," said Dr. Stacy Drury, senior author of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology study.


  1. Biological/Medical
    1. Jones, C. W., Esteves, K. C., Gray, S. A., Clarke, T. N., Keegan, C., Theall, K. P., & Drury, S. S. (2019). The transgenerational transmission of maternal adverse childhood experiences (ACEs): Insights from placental aging and infant autonomic nervous system reactivity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 106, 20-27.
    2. Nelson, C. A., Zeanah, C. H., & Fox, N. A. (2019). How early experience shapes human development: The case of psychosocial deprivation. Neural plasticity, 2019.
    3. Phan, J., Shirtcliff, E., Drury, S., & Theall, K. (2019). Maternal experiences of discrimination moderates dual axis coupling in African American youth. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 100, S2.
    4. Wade, M., Fox, N. A., Zeanah, C. H., Nelson, C. A., & Drury, S. S. (2019). Telomere Length and Psychopathology: Specificity and Direction of Effects Within the Bucharest Early Intervention Project. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
    1. Dismukes, A., Shirtcliff, E., Jones, C. W., Zeanah, C., Theall, K., & Drury, S. (2018). The development of the cortisol response to dyadic stressors in Black and White infants. Development and psychopathology, 30(5), 1995-2008.
    2. Jones, C., Esteves, K., Theall, K., & Drury, S. (2018). F47. Infant Telomere Length Differs in Matched and Mismatched Postnatal Expectancy. Biological Psychiatry, 83(9), S255-S256.
    1. Gray, S. A., Lipschutz, R. S., & Scheeringa, M. S. (2017). Young Children’s Physiological Reactivity during Memory Recall: Associations with Posttraumatic Stress and Parent Physiological Synchrony. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1-10.
    2. Merrill, L. C., Jones, C. W., Drury, S. S., & Theall, K. P. (2017). The differential impact of oxytocin receptor gene in violence-exposed boys and girls. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 59, 60-67. 
    1. Drury, S. S., Sanchez, M. M., & Gonzalez, A. (2016). When mothering goes awry: challenges and opportunities for utilizing evidence across rodent, nonhuman primate and human studies to better define the biological consequences of negative early caregiving. Hormones and Behavior, 77, 182-192. 
    2. Non, A. L., Hollister, B. M., Humphreys, K. L., Childebayeva, A., Esteves, K., Zeanah, C. H., ... & Drury, S. S. (2016). DNA methylation at stress‐related genes is associated with exposure to early life institutionalization. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 161(1), 84-93.
    1. Brett, Z. H., Humphreys, K. L., Smyke, A. T., Gleason, M. M., Nelson, C. A., Zeanah, C. H., ... & Drury, S. S. (2015). Serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) genotype moderates the longitudinal impact of early caregiving on externalizing behavior. Development and Psychopathology, 27(1), 7-18. 
    1. Drury, S. S., Mabile, E., Brett, Z. H., Esteves, K., Jones, E., Shirtcliff, E. A., & Theall, K. P. (2014). The association of telomere length with family violence and disruption. Pediatrics, 134(1), e128-e137.
    2. McLaughlin, K. A., Sheridan, M. A., Winter, W., Fox, N. A., Zeanah, C. H., & Nelson, C. A. (2014). Widespread reductions in cortical thickness following severe early-life deprivation: a neurodevelopmental pathway to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 76(8), 629-638. 
    1. Schoof, V. A., & Jack, K. M. (2013). The Association of Intergroup Encounters, Dominance Status, and Fecal Androgen and Glucocorticoid Profiles in Wild Male White‐Faced Capuchins (Cebus capucinus). American Journal of Primatology, 75(2), 107-115. 
    1. Drury, S., Theall, K., Gleason, M. M., Smyke, A. T., De Vivo, I., Wong, J. Y. Y., Fox, N. A., Zeanah, C. H., & Nelson, C. A. (2012). Telomere length and early severe social deprivation: linking early adversity and cellular aging. Molecular Psychiatry, 17(7), 719-727.
    2. Scheeringa, M. S., Myers, L., Putnam, F. W., & Zeanah, C. H. (2012). Diagnosing PTSD in early childhood: An empirical assessment of four approaches. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25(4), 359-367. 
    1. Drury, S. S., Theall, K. P., Smyke, A. T., Keats, B. J., Egger, H. L., Nelson, C. A., ... & Zeanah, C. H. (2010). Modification of depression by COMT val 158 met polymorphism in children exposed to early severe psychosocial deprivation. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34(6), 387-395. 
    1. Bevans, K., Cerbone, A. B., & Overstreet, S. (2009). The interactive effects of elevated mid-afternoon cortisol and trauma history on PTSD symptoms in children: A preliminary study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(10), 1582-1585. 
    2. Moulson, M. C., Fox, N. A., Zeanah, C. H., & Nelson, C. A. (2009). Early adverse experiences and the neurobiology of facial emotion processing. Developmental Psychology, 45(1), 17.