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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.