Jed Elison
January 20, 2016

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost has announced the 2016-18 McKnight Land-Grant Professorships. Jed Elison, Institute of Child Development, is receiving the grant for is work on infant social cognition, the development of the social brain, and the emergence of clinically impairing behaviors during the toddler and preschool-age periods, with a focus on potential biomarkers of autism spectrum disorder. The Professorship includes a research grant of $25,000 in each of the two years of the award, to be used for expenditures related to the recipient’s research/scholarly work.


Maria Kroupina
January 20, 2016

Children who have experienced early social or emotional adversity, including institutionalization or numerous family transitions, are at risk for attachment challenges.

Attachment relationships are special bonds that infants develop with their parents or primary caregiver(s), often in the first year of life. These relationships serve many purposes in a child’s development, and can help a child become more resilient against long-term mental health issues.

Michael Georgieff
January 5, 2016

Once you introduce solid foods to your baby at around 6 months, the pressure is on. No longer will breast milk or formula cover your little one's nutritional bases. Instead, your food selections as a parent are critical. "It's the kids at [ages] 1 to 3 who really make me nervous because they're at the mercy of what the parents are eating," Georgieff says. Some of the most important nutrients for a baby's brain at this stage are iron, zinc, copper, iodine, choline, folate and vitamins A, B12 and D.

Jeff Wozniak
October 29, 2015

A University of Minnesota research team recently published the results of a clinical trial that showed choline could reduce some of the cognitive defects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. 

Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) who took a daily supplement of the water soluble nutrient showed small gains in memory performance, which could significantly impact their overall cognitive development. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition earlier this month, is the first clinical trial to investigate choline’s effects on kids with FASDs, and could signal a new approach to treatment.

Dr. Kelvin Lim
October 28, 2015

With support from Wendy Wells and longtime U of M donor Norm Cocke, Lim launched his preliminary study with a basic question: Are there measurable differences in the brains of addicts who relapse and those who are able to stay abstinent? The drum-roll moment came just this past summer, when Lim was notified that his successful pilot study—which found that, yes, there were measur­able differences—had earned him a $2.6 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to delve deeper.

Dr. Jeff Wozniak and Dr. Michael Georgieff
October 26, 2015

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) affect more than two percent of the population, yet there is little physicians know of that can be done to help improve the brain damage those children suffer. Utilizing a choline supplement after birth for children with FASDs could be a potential option, a University of Minnesota Medical School clinical trial found.

Dante Cicchetti
October 20, 2015

Dante Cicchetti, McKnight Presidential Chair and William Harris Professor of Child Psychology and Psychiatry at the Institute of Child Development, was officially inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on October 10, 2015. The induction ceremony took place at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies and is a leading center for independent policy research. Established in 1780, the Academy serves the nation as a champion of scholarship, civil dialogue, and useful knowledge.

William Iacono and Monica Luciana
September 25, 2015

Regents Professor William Iacono and Professor Monica Luciana of the Department of Psychology have received a grant from the National Institute of Health as part of a landmark study about the effects of adolescent substance use on the developing brain. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study will follow approximately 10,000 children beginning at ages 9 to 10, before they initiate drug use, through the period of highest risk for substance use and other mental health disorders. The study will seek to address questions related to substance use and development that will help inform prevention and treatment research priorities, public health strategies, and policy decisions.