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Exploring the Mind | Adversity, Resilience, and the Developing Brain


Monday April 29, 2019: 7:00pm to 8:30pm  Add to Calendar


Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room


Join Dr. Christopher Monk, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience & CHGD Research Professor at the University of Michigan, as he characterizes the developmental risks of childhood adversity and discusses the social and biological mechanisms that may explain the striking degree of resilience found in the adolescent brain.

Childhood adversity, such as growing up in poverty or experiencing parental neglect, is associated with a host of negative outcomes, including depression and low educational attainment. Although it is understood that these types of adversity alter the brain and increase the risk for problems, it is not known what forms of adversity are most pernicious and how they affect the brain. In the presentation, Dr. Monk will describe a study comprised predominantly of adolescents from low-income backgrounds who have been followed since birth. Using brain imaging methods, Dr. Monk shows how two specific and chronic forms of adversity, violence exposure and social deprivation, impact brain development in different ways.  At the same time, the adolescents show a striking degree of resilience, despite the challenging circumstances. 

Dr. Monk is a Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. He is also a Research Professor in the Survey Research Center at ISR and the Center for Human Growth and Development. Dr. Monk received his PhD in Child Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. He then went on to the NIMH Intramural Research Program where he was a postdoc and later a fellow. His research program involves two active and related lines of research. In the first line, he is examining how poverty-related stressors and the developmental timing of those stressors impact brain development, stress hormone regulation and anxiety as well as depression symptoms during adolescence. For the second line of research, he is investigating how effective treatments for anxiety (cognitive behavioral therapy or medication) alter brain function and how these brain alterations relate to clinical outcome in children and adolescents.

This program is part of the "Exploring the Mind" series and is a partnership with The University of Michigan Department of Psychology.



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