Newsletter Article

New Research Grants

The Psychology Department is excited to announce a new funding opportunity to jumpstart innovative research.  The department-sponsored Faculty Interdisciplinary Research Pilot Awards (FIRPAs) are aimed at stimulating new, interdisciplinary research among Psychology Department faculty that has the potential to secure additional extramural funding.  Awards cover research costs up to $20,000 for a one year period. 

In this first round, nine faculty teams from across the different areas of the Department submitted proposals.  An anonymous review committee of fellow faculty members made the difficult decision of choosing the three that would receive funding this year.  The inaugural awardees are:

Kristina Olson, Katie McLaughlin, and Stephanie Fryberg
Project:  Roles of Cultural and Self Construal in Children's Responses to Trauma in One's Community

Jessica Sommerville and Wendy Stone
Project:  Behavioral and Physiological Response to Emotional Displays in Infants at High and Low Risk for ASD

Lori Zoellner, Jeansok Kim, and Libby Marks
Project:  Memory Reconsolidation: α-amylase, Salivary Cortisol, and Physiological Correlates


Congratulations to the following faculty members who have recently been awarded new and highly competitive federal or foundation grants to conduct cutting edge research concerning a number of important issues facing our society:

Dr. Sapna Cheryan received a three year National Science Foundation grant that will help us to better understand the role of social peer pressure on career choice. Dr. Cheryan will also develop environmental strategies that reduce such social pressures. This work should increase diversity of membership in a number of traditionally gender biased careers.

Dr. Melanie Harned was awarded a three year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to assess the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Prolonged Exposure (an integrated treatment for individuals who suffer PTSD with suicidal ideation) when implemented in community agencies, and to develop methods that facilitate the implementation of this intervention method in clinical practice.

Dr. Susan Joslyn began a three year grant project supported by the National Science Foundation that will help us to better understand climate change perception, and the role that factors such as trust, self-efficacy, and concern have on that perception.

Dr. Marsha Linehan received a two year grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to investigate the role of a potential warning sign of acute risk of suicide deaths in adolescents, and that is sleep problems. Of particular interest is how sleep problems affect emotion regulation. This work will provide important information that could improve treatment strategies for high risk suicidal individuals.

Dr. Kate McLaughlin received a five year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the effects of child trauma on areas of the brain that are responsible for emotional regulation. This research will provide new insights into a possible link between adverse environments and psychopathology.

Dr. Scott Murray began a five year grant (also from the National Institute of Mental Health) that seeks to understand how inhibitory systems of the brain contribute to sensory and motor symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. A better understanding of the role of inhibitory systems could lead to more effective pharmacological treatment options.