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Mechanisms of Change in Developmental Psychopathology : Speaker’s Biographies


Isabela Granic, PhD., is a Research Scientist in the Community Health Systems Resource Group at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. Her program of research aims to explain the variability in evidence-based outcomes by identifying the processes and mechanisms of change associated with successful treatment (specifically, interventions for aggressive children and families). Some of the questions Dr. Granic is pursuing include: (1) How do parent-child interactions change as a function of successful intervention? (2) What sorts of therapeutic relationships are most predictive of successful outcomes? (3) How does successful treatment impact on the functioning of emotion-regulation centers in the brain? Her program of research has been funded by national and international granting agencies including the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Ontario Mental Health Foundation (OMHF). Her findings have been published in top-tiered psychology and developmental journals including Psychological Review, Development and Psychopathology, Developmental Psychology and Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.


Ronald E. Dahl, M.D. is the Staunton Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a pediatrician with research interests in sleep/arousal and affect regulation and their relevance to the development of behavioral and emotional disorders in youth. His work focuses on early adolescence and pubertal development as a neurodevelopmental period with unique opportunities for early intervention. He co-directs a large program of research on child/adolescent anxiety and depression with more than twenty years of continuous funding from the NIMH, and he has received grants from NIAAA, NIDA, and NICHD focusing on questions of neurobehavioral development and adolescent health outcomes. His research is interdisciplinary and bridges from basic work in affective neuroscience and development and extends to clinical work focusing on early intervention for behavioral and emotional health problems. Dr. Dahl has participated in several interdisciplinary research groups, including The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Psychopathology and Development, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Research Network on Tobacco Dependence. He has published extensively on adolescent development, pediatric sleep disorders, and behavioral/emotional health in children and adolescents.


Thomas Dishion, PhD., founder and director of research at the Child and Family Center, conducts research in developmental psychopathology and intervention science. He is interested in understanding how children's relationships with parents and peers influence the development of problem behavior in children and adolescents. His recent research interests include social neuroscience, especially with a focus on identifying neurocognitive mechanisms underlying self-regulation within interpersonal contexts. He is also interested in applying knowledge of developmental processes to the design of preventive and clinical interventions that reduce conflict and distress in families and improve child and adolescent social and emotional adjustment. He and colleagues are working on developing and testing an ecological approach to child and family mental health interventions in service delivery systems such as public schools. Dr. Dishion is currently an investigator on four ongoing prevention trials involving young children and adolescents. He is also the director of the NIMH training grant in Development and Psychopathology.


Rutger Engels, PhD., is head of the department of Developmental Psychopathology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. The general aim of the research conducted at his department is the study of psycho-social influences on adolescent substance use, delinquency and eating behavior. He studies the interplay between individual characteristics (e.g. personality, genes, cognitions) and (social) environmental factors (e.g. parents, peers, contextual cues) on different stages of adolescent smoking and alcohol use, as well as normative and non-normative eating behavior (e.g. overeating). As PI and co-PI, he has obtained grants from NWO, Dutch Cancer Society, Dutch Asthma Foundation, STIVORO, Ministry of Health, ZonMw, RU and UU. He is assistant editor of the leading journal in the field (Addiction), and has co-authored more than 160 papers in SSCI and SCI journals. Since 2008, he is research director of the Behavioural Science Institute.


Stephen Hinshaw, PhD., is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving his A.B. from Harvard in 1974, summa cum laude, he directed day school and residential programs for children with developmental disabilities for three years. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA in 1983. His work focuses on developmental psychopathology, with particular emphasis on (a) peer and family relationships in children with externalizing disorders, (b) neuropsychological risk factors for and correlates of psychopathology, (c) comparisons and combinations of pharmacologic and psychological interventions for children with ADHD, (d) assessment and evaluation, (e) conceptual and definitional issues in the field, and (f) stigma and mental disorder.He has directed summer research camps and conducted longitudinal studies for boys (and, more recently, for girls) with ADHD and associated disorders for over 25 years. Hinshaw has authored over 200 articles, chapters, and reviews on child psychopathology.


Christopher Lalonde, PhD., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Victoria. His research focuses on cultural influences on identity formation and social-cognitive development. He is currently engaged in research projects that examine the role of culture in the health and well-being of Aboriginal youth. In partnership with the Inter Tribal Health Authority, Dr. Lalonde is involved in a study of injury rates within First Nations communities on Vancouver Island. With funding from the Canadian Population Health Initiative, and in collaboration with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, he is beginning a project in Manitoba that examines culture and healthy youth development. At University of Victoria, he is also helping to direct the LE,NONET Project that aims to enhance the success of Aboriginal undergraduate students.


Marc D. Lewis, PhD., is a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto. His theoretical work has focused on modeling emotional and personality development across childhood and adolescence. He is especially interested in the neurobiological bases of emotion, emotion regulation, and emotional/personality development, including processes of synaptic shaping, synchronization and coherence among neural subsystems, and consolidation of neural networks through recurrent emotional states. Dr. Lewis’ empirical work is focused on cortical mechanisms of emotion regulation in children and adults. His team is particularly interested in the contribution of prefrontal regulatory mechanisms to developmental and individual differences in social behaviour, personality characteristics, and mental health.


Brooke Molina, PhD.,is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Youth and Family Research Program (www.youthandfamilyresearch.com). She is a licensed clinical psychologist in Pennsylvania. Dr. Molina's research interests are in the course and treatment of disruptive behavior disorders (principally ADHD) and substance use and abuse. She has been federally funded since 1995 when she and Dr. William Pelham began longitudinal research on children with ADHD to study alcohol use and abuse in adolescence. Since showing an association, that research has taken the form of a larger longitudinal study of 604 adolescents and young adults with and without childhood ADHD (The Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study, or PALS). Dr. Molina is the Pittsburgh site PI of the longitudinal follow-up for the Multimodal Treatment of ADHD study, and she is co investigator with John Donovan on the Tween to Teen Project, a longitudinal study of the development of alcohol use and their precursors in community children. She regularly reviews federal grant applications for the National Institutes of Health and she is a member of the CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) Professional Advisory Board.


Candice Odgers, PhD., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. Candice received her PhD in Community and Quantitative Psychology from the University of Virginia and completed postdoctoral training specializing in developmental psychology at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Kings College London.  Dr. Odgers is a co-investigator on a Canadian Institutes of Heath Research multi-site study focused on the transition to adulthood among high-risk adolescents. Her current research focuses on the developmental course of externalizing disorders, with an emphasis on physical-health outcomes and early initiation of substance use. To answer questions related to how children and adolescents navigate important developmental transition points, Candice applies longitudinal statistical techniques designed to facilitate causal inference and identify mechanisms of change.  In 2005, Dr. Odgers was awarded the Alice Wilson Medal by the Royal Society of Canada for her research related to adolescent development and aggression. Most recently, she was awarded the 2007 Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Excellence by the American Psychology-Law Society and American Academy of Forensic Psychology. Her research appears in journals such as Psychological Science, Development and Psychopathology, and Archives of General Psychiatry.


Debra Pepler, PhD., is a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University and a member of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution. At The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Dr. Pepler is a Senior Associate Scientist. Together with Dr. Wendy Craig, she is leading PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network), a Networks of Centres of Excellence –New Initiative www.prevnet.ca. She conducts research on children at risk. Dr. Pepler’s major research program examines antisocial behaviour of children and adolescents, particularly in the school and peer contexts. The seminal aspect of this research comprised naturalistic observations of interactions among school-aged peers with remote microphones and video cameras. Her current research area examines aggression and victimization among adolescents with a focus on the processes related to these problems over the lifespan.