Nisonger Center

Director, Williams Syndrome Program

College of Medicine
Nisonger Center, The Ohio State University

395C McCampbell Hall
1581 Dodd Dr.
Columbus, OH43210
Phone: 614-688-3112

Research Goals: My research studies focus on Williams syndrome (WS), which is a genetic, neurodevelopmental disorder which causes abnormal brain development and a unique cognitive and behavioral profile. I have two lines of WS research. First, I am interested in understanding how altered brain development is expressed in specific aspects of the WS cognitive and behavioral phenotype. I have examined how individuals with WS determine if someone appears trustworthy or not by using mouse-tracking, fMRI, and reaction time methodologies. My second line of research is translational in nature, i.e. I am interested in conducting research that can be used to improve the quality of life for individuals with WS. One aspect of the WS cognitive phenotype is an increased affinity for music, and in some cases increased musical ability. I have conducted two studies showing that musical experience is associated with enhanced verbal memory in individuals with WS. These findings will help determine how music might be used to improve educational outcomes in individuals with WS. I have also conducted two studies related to the medical implications of WS – the first study examines if music can help reduce anxiety and blood pressure readings in individuals with WS, and the second study examines parent-reported efficacy and side effects of sleep medications in individuals with Williams syndrome. Lastly, I am using eye-tracking studies to examine attention bias and prosody in individuals with WS.

Research & Interests: Williams Syndrome

Active Funding: The Ohio State University Office of Outreach and Engagement, Engagement Impact Grant, College of Arts and Sciences Regional Campus Faculty Research/Creative Activity Grant, The Ohio State University at Newark Scholarly Activity Grant, College of Arts and Sciences Regional Campus Faculty Research/Creative Activity Grant, Harry C Moores Foundation, The Ohio State University at Newark Scholarly Activity Grant.

PubMed articles

1981 B.A. in Psychology, Magna cum laude Graceland University Lamoni, IA
1983 Ed.S. in School Psychology M.A. in Psychology University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
2005 Ph.D. in Psychology, Emphasis: Neuropsychology University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia

Editorial Activities:
Developmental Psychobiology
Child Neuropsychology
Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience
European Journal of Psychiatry
American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Brain Structure and Function
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
Developmental Science
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Research in Developmental Disabilities
Brain Sciences

Certifications and Licenses: Licensed Psychologist in Ohio (Ohio Board of Psychology #6522) since 2009

American Psychological Association Division 2: Society for the Teaching of Psychology
Ohio Psychological Association
International Neuropsychological Society
National Williams Syndrome Association

2011 - Teaching Excellence Award, The Ohio State University at Newark
2010 - Faculty Service Award, The Ohio State University at Newark
2010 - Outstanding Faculty and Staff Service Award, The Ohio State University at Newark

Clinical Services:
Founded the Williams Syndrome Clinic in October, 2007. This is a joint collaboration between Nisonger Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Participate in bi-monthly multi-disciplinary evaluations of individuals with Williams syndrome.

My Clinical Bio

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