CHADD is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Young Scientist Research Awards: Meghan Miller, Ph.D. and Walter Roberts, M.S. Selected from a pool of well-qualified applicants by renowned experts in the field, these young researchers are making contributions to our understanding of ADHD. The awards are currently being supported by a number of individual donations.
Meghan Miller, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis. She received a B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University in 2006 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. After completing a predoctoral clinical internship in pediatric psychology and developmental disabilities at Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Miller was a postdoctoral fellow in the NIMH T32-funded Autism Research Training Program at the MIND Institute. Dr. Miller’s research uses a developmental psychopathology framework and aims to identify developmental pathways by which symptoms and impairments associated with neurodevelopmental disorders – particularly ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – emerge over time. Her current projects focus on identifying shared and distinct early signs of ADHD and ASD among infants at familial risk for these conditions. Her submission was titled “Infants at risk of ADHD: A longitudinal study.” The hope is that this line of research will promote earlier identification and more prompt and efficient treatment of ADHD and across neurodevelopmental disorders.
Walter Roberts, M.S., is a doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program at the University of Kentucky and is currently completing his pre-doctoral internship in the University of Kentucky Internship Consortium Program. Mr. Roberts graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology before enrolling at the University of Kentucky that same year. Under the guidance of Drs. Mark Fillmore and Richard Milich, Mr. Roberts conducts human behavioral pharmacology experiments examining the acute behavioral effects of alcohol in young adults with ADHD, with a specific interest in identifying how increased sensitivity to this drug may place adults with ADHD at increased risk to transition from social drinking to problematic use. This work has identified key differences adults with ADHD and their nonclinical peers that may help explain why adults with ADHD are at risk to develop alcohol use disorders. Another focus of his research is characterizing inhibitory deficits found in adults with ADHD and linking these cognitive deficits with hallmark features of ADHD such as impulsivity. His research submission was titled, “Risk for Alcohol Use Disorder in Adults with ADHD: The Role of Acute Alcohol Effects.”
Margaret H. Sibley, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health at Florida International University in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. She received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2012. She holds a M.A. in Psychological Sciences from James Madison University and received her undergraduate training at Wake Forest University. Dr. Sibley’s work centers on ADHD in adolescence. She is currently a Klingenstein 3rd Generation Foundation ADHD Fellow, as well as a past and present APF Fellow. Some of her work investigates longitudinal outcomes (PALS, MTA, and preschool ADHD studies) of children diagnosed with ADHD followed into adolescence. The purpose of this research is to better characterize the functional problems of teens with ADHD. Another area of her work investigates the best way to diagnostically define and identify ADHD in adolescence. Finally, the majority of her research focuses on developing feasible models for the everyday delivery of psychosocial treatments to adolescents with ADHD. This work primarily includes family-based approaches to treatment delivered in community settings. Her research submission was titled, "Family-Based Treatment for Adolescents with ADHD: Comparing Individual vs. Group Delivery Models.”
Stephen P. Becker, MA, is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Miami University and is currently completing his pre-doctoral clinical internship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Mr. Becker’s research submission was titled, “Phenotypic Correlates Distinguishing Sluggish Cognitive Tempo from ADHD”. His doctoral research, conducted under the mentorship of Drs. Aaron Luebbe, Joshua Langberg, and Jeffery Epstein, focuses on comorbidity among children and adolescents with ADHD, with a particular interest in how internalizing symptoms, sleep problems, and sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) impact the social and academic adjustment of youth with ADHD. Mr. Becker’s research uses a developmental psychopathology framework to examine developmental pathways of risk and resilience in typically developing youth and clinical samples of youth with ADHD. His graduate research has been funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and a scholarship from the American Psychological Foundation/Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Attention Disorders and the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. In addition, Mr. Becker recently co-organized a Special Section on SCT that appeared in the January, 2014 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Ultimately, Mr. Becker aims for his research to inform diagnostic nosology as well as prevention and intervention strategies for youth with attention problems.
Karen E. Seymour, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Her research submission was titled, “Bio-behavioral correlates of Frustrative Non-Reward in Children with ADHD.” She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2001 with a BA in psychology, and then earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees in clinical psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. During graduate school, Dr. Seymour engaged in research examining the role of parent psychopathology on treatment outcomes for children with ADHD, and research examining the role of emotion regulation in the relationship between ADHD and depression in youth. Following graduation, Dr. Seymour completed a 2-year, NIH T32 postdoctoral fellowship in Child Mental Health at Brown University’s Alpert School of Medicine where she received training in the use of affective neuroscience techniques, including fMRI, to examine brain-behavior interactions underlying psychopathology, particularly ADHD and mood disorders, in children and adolescents. She received an NIH Pediatric Loan Repayment Program grant for her work examining brain-behavior interactions involved in emotion regulation processes, such as emotional face processing, in children and adolescents with ADHD and/or mood disorders. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Seymour will continue her work examining bio-behavioral correlates of Frustrative Non-Reward (FNR), a form of emotion regulation difficulty, in youth with and without ADHD, and examine the relationship between FNR and mood disorders in youth with ADHD.
Kathryn L. Humphreys, M.A., Ed.M. is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently completing her clinical internship at the Tulane University School of Medicine with a concentration in Infant Mental Health. Humphreys graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in child development and cognitive studies in 2005. She enrolled in the Risk and Prevention program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and graduated with her master’s degree in education in 2006. Her doctoral research, conducted under the mentorship of Steve Lee, Ph.D. and Nim Tottenham, Ph.D., investigates the function of risk taking behavior in children and adults, including her proposed study (“Examining Risky Behavior in Children with ADHD: A Laboratory-Based Assessment Approach”). She was also awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Charles E. and Sue K. Young Graduate Student Award to support her research investigating the biological and environmental causes of attention problems. Her research program includes an emphasis on typical and atypical development, with an aim to identify potential pathways to ADHD and externalizing problems. In particular, she is interested in examining heterogeneity within ADHD and the corresponding cause, presentation, course, and treatment implications for individuals with attention problems.
Michael J. Kofler, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Services at the University of Virginia, where he is affiliated with the Youth-Nex Center to Promote Effective Youth Development. He completed his undergraduate work at Tulane University, earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees in clinical psychology at the University of Central Florida, and completed his clinical Internship at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston Consortium). He was a 2011 NIMH Child Intervention, Prevention, and Services (CHIPS) fellow, and was recently awarded a National Institute of Health Loan Repayment grant. His primary research interests (“Central Executive Working Memory Training for Children with ADHD: A Translational Research Agenda”) center on understanding the relationship between underlying neurocognitive factors and associated behavioral and functional impairments for individuals with ADHD, and translating this knowledge into effective and efficacious interventions for these individuals. His recent experimental work - in collaboration with Dr. Mark Rapport and the Children’s Learning Clinic research team - has collectively revealed that ADHD-related deficits in key components of working memory appear to underlie many of the hallmark features of ADHD, including inattentive behavior, hyperactivity, impulsivity, social problems, and behavioral disinhibition. He is currently working to further isolate the specific, cognitive sub-processes responsible for these findings, and developing novel, non-pharmacological treatments with the potential for sustained, generalizable improvements in functioning across settings.
James J. Li, MA, is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and is currently completing his clinical internship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Li graduated with a BA from Johns Hopkins University in 2007 and conducted his doctoral research at UCLA under the guidance of Steve S. Lee, PhD. Li’s dissertation research (“Risk and Resilience: An Empirical Examination of Differential Susceptibility for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”) investigates the plausibility of genetic differential susceptibility in the context of ADHD, which hypothesizes that certain individuals with genetic predispositions may be more sensitive to environmental adversity and enrichment. Li has previously been awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to study gene-environment interactions for neurocognitive phenotypes related to ADHD, and a fellowship from the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics, where he collaborated with multidisciplinary faculty on research related to legal, ethical, biological and sociological implications of genetic research. His recent work has examined associations between the dopamine transporter gene and natural variations in parenting behavior on childhood ADHD symptoms, and the interaction of risk genotypes with family environmental factors on adolescent depression. Overall, Li’s research encompasses developmental theory, molecular genetics, and advanced quantitative applications with the goal of refining the understanding and the treatment of childhood psychopathology.
L. Cinnamon Bidwell, MA, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology and behavioral genetics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, submitted her research entitled “Association of DRD4, DAT1, and 5HTT with Putative Neuropsychological Endophenotypes in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” Bidwell graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. At the University of Colorado, she conducted her graduate training under Erik G. Willcutt, PhD, and collaborated with Bruce F. Pennington, PhD, at the University of Denver. Her training continues with her clinical psychology internship at Duke University Medical Center under the mentorship of Scott H. Kollins, PhD. Bidwell’s research investigates the links from genes to brain dysfunction to symptom presentation in ADHD. Her dissertation research examines multiple measures of putative neuropsychological deficits in ADHD with the aim of further delineating specific genetic influences and in turn how these influences confer susceptibility for the disorder through neurocognitive pathways. She was also awarded a predoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Mental Health in order to study the maintenance of ADHD into adulthood using neuropsychological, structural neuroimaging, and genetic approaches. Her research program cuts across the fields of clinical psychology and psychopathology, neuroscience, and behavioral and molecular genetics with the goal of contributing to the development of a comprehensive causal model for ADHD.
Molly Nikolas, MA, is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Michigan State University. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2002, earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. At Michigan State, she has studied under Joel Nigg, PhD, and S. Alexandra Burt, PhD, on projects involving the genetics of ADHD, neuropsychological performance, and disruptive behavior disorders. Nikolas’ dissertation (“Youth Appraisals of Marital Conflict and Genetic Risk for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Examination of Gene x Environment Interactions Using Behavioral and Molecular Genetic Methodologies”) makes use of both behavioral and molecular genetic approaches to examine interactions between genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of ADHD. Specifically, Nikolas is examining whether children’s cognitive appraisals of interparental conflict moderate latent or inferred genetic influences for ADHD within a community sample of twins, as well as interact specifically with a functional marker from the serotonin transporter gene in predicting ADHD symptoms within a clinically-diagnosed sample. This novel strategy for studying gene-environment interactions allows her to examine these effects across multiple levels of analysis, thereby strengthening the power of such studies to detect interactions between genetic and environmental influences on ADHD. Nikolas plans to pursue a clinical research career investigating gene-environment interplay for ADHD and associated phenotypes (neuropsychological performance, disruptive behavior disorders).
Joshua M. Langberg, PhD, assistant professor at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, Center for ADHD, submitted a paper titled, “Intervention with Physicians to Promote Improved ADHD Care in the Community.” After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Langberg completed a master’s degree in psychological sciences at James Madison University. Doctoral training in clinical/community psychology at the University of South Carolina and internship at Duke University Medical Center followed. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2006, Langberg joined the faculty in 2007. Langberg’s research interests include the development and evaluation of interventions for children and adolescents with ADHD. His research focuses on improving access to evidence-based care by implementing interventions in school and community-based settings. Langberg’s paper reports on an intervention called the ADHD Collaborative that promotes the adoption of evidence-based ADHD assessment and treatment practices among community pediatricians.
Heather A. Jones, PhD, visiting assistant professor of psychology at the University of Akron, submitted “Parenting African-American Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” Jones graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and completed doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Maryland in College Park in 2006. Her training continued with a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for the Management of ADHD. She joined the faculty at the University of Akron in 2008. Jones’s paper is part of larger research agenda aimed at improving engagement in treatment and functional outcomes for African-American children with ADHD. Her research focuses on mixed-method approaches to exploring ethnic differences in parenting children with ADHD, the investigation of a collaborative intervention for urban children with ADHD, and the development and evaluation of a multidimensional model of treatment engagement.
Frances W. Arnold, MS, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, submitted “Examining Parents’ Preferences for Variations to Behavioral Parent Programs.” Arnold graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. At Buffalo, Arnold studied under William E. Pelham, PhD, and she recently collaborated with Charles E. Cunningham, PhD, at McMaster University. Arnold’s dissertation utilizes sophisticated marketing techniques and analyses to investigate whether parents differ in their preferences for variations to behavioral treatment packages for children with ADHD. She is also examining whether offering alternative packages that match parents’ preferences results in greater share of preference among families affected by ADHD. She hopes to use results from these studies to modify behavioral parent programs in order to maximize their effectiveness for families with various backgrounds and individual needs. As the clinic coordinator at the Center for Children and Families at the University at Buffalo, Arnold has become intimately interested in ways to increase uptake in behavioral treatments among families affected by ADHD. She is working to develop user-friendly, media-based behavioral treatment tools that would be accessible to more families. She plans to pursue a clinical research career investigating ways to improve behavioral parent programs by using marketing and media-focused strategies.
Kate Flory, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of South Carolina, submitted a paper entitled, "Do peer factors explain why adolescents with ADHD smoke cigarettes?" After graduating from Duke University with a BA in psychology, Flory completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Kentucky in 2004. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Department of Psychiatry. Flory began her current position at USC in 2005. Flory’s paper is part of a larger research study investigating possible social, cognitive, and emotional explanations for why adolescents with ADHD are at greater risk of cigarette smoking than their peers who do not have the disorder. Flory hopes to eventually use her findings to develop a smoking prevention program designed specifically for adolescents with ADHD. Flory’s other research interests include understanding why children with ADHD have social skills deficits, and understanding the risky sexual behaviors of adults with childhood ADHD.
Steve S. Lee, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), submitted the paper, “Gene-Environment Interplay for ADHD: Integrating Nature and Nurture.” After earning his BA in psychology from the University of Chicago, Lee completed his doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatric genetics in the department of psychiatry at the University of Chicago. He joined the clinical psychology faculty at UCLA in 2006. Lee’s research interests integrate the principles and methods of developmental psychopathology and genetic epidemiology to increase understanding of ADHD and related behavior disorders. His research addresses several issues: identifying genetic and environmental influences through processes such as gene-environment interactions and gene-environment correlations, developing improved and clinically significant measures of impairment and overall functioning, and highlighting biological and psychosocial mechanisms involved in sex differences in ADHD and externalizing behavior disorders.
Amori Yee Mikami, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, for her ongoing research entitled, “Parents as Friendship-Training Coaches for Children with ADHD.” Mikami's research program investigates peer relationship difficulties among children with ADHD, with the goal of integrating science and clinical practice to develop better interventions to serve this population.
Andrea M. Chronis, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Maryland and director of the Maryland ADHD Program, and adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Her submission, “Integrated Intervention for Depressed Mothers of Children with ADHD,” is part of a larger research program entitled, “The Role of Parental Psychopathology in Developmental and Treatment Outcomes for Children with ADHD.”
Anne-Claude V. Bédard, MSc, PhD candidate in medical science/neuroscience at the Institute of Medical Science of the University of Toronto. Her submission was entitled, “Effects of Methylphenidate on Working Memory in Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” Many activities depend on good working memory—adding numbers in one’s head, following and understanding conversation or a text, remembering the rules of sports and games while playing them, remembering directions en route to a destination. Some research suggests that people with ADHD may have more problems with working memory than people without ADHD. Bédard is studying whether stimulant medication helps children and adolescents retain and organize information in their minds for a few seconds. While research has shown that stimulant medication improves behavioral symptoms, helping most children and adolescents with ADHD to pay attention and concentrate better, it is still not known whether stimulant medication improves working memory. Bédard’s study may help us better understand the effects of stimulant medication on working memory, or whether other treatment approaches are needed to improve working memory in children and adolescents with ADHD.