Children's Hospital Boston
Division of Developmental Medicine 
Research Programs 
Boston Children's Hospital
Fall 2012 Newsletter

Hello from Dr. Nelson! 

Hello from the Research Programs in the Division of Developmental Medicine! I hope this newsletter finds you all well and that those of you who are busy with the "back to school" transition are getting settled into the fall routine. We are busy here with more studies than ever and lots of fall community events on our calendar. Be sure to check out the "Out and About" section below to see where we'll be with our big brain and fun brain teasers, and come by to say hello! As always, please feel free to explore our website or contact our Outreach Coordinator for more information about studies in which your family might participate. 

Whether you have already taken part in our studies or have recently joined our growing Participant Registry, I greatly appreciate your interest in our research. Your support of our work and participation in our studies are invaluable to us in answering many important questions related to infant and child cognitive development. 

Warm wishes,

Charles A. Nelson

Charles A. Nelson, Ph.D. 

Director of Research, Division of Developmental Medicine
Richard David Scott Chair in Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research
Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School

Out and About

Fall is the season of community events, and this year we will be heading everywhere from Watertown to Suffolk Downs with fun activities and information about current projects. If you find yourself at any of the events below, please stop by, say hello, and try out some of our "brainy" activities. We'd love to see you!

Watertown Faire on the Square, Saturday 9/22, 10:00-4:00
Join us at Saltonstall Park for a day of fun kids activities, arts & crafts, and musical performances. For more information, visit the fair's website.

El Planeta Health and Family Fair, Sunday 9/30, 12:00-4:00
Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, Roxbury Community College
This will be our first year at the health fair, as part of the Cambridge Science Festival's "Science on the Street" program. Nos alegra mucho ser parte de esta feria para la comunidad Latina. Esperamos que nos veamos alli! For more information visit

2012 Walk Now for Autism Speaks, 
Sunday 9/30, 9:00 a.m.
Suffolk Downs, East Boston
This will be our fifth year at the Greater Boston walk, a remarkable event geared toward raising awareness as well as raising funds for autism research like ours. Click here for more information about how you and your family can participate.

Newton Harvest Fair, Sunday 10/14, 10:00-5:00
A great way to spend a fall day with all kinds of kids activities and rides, as well as food trucks, local artists, and more! 
Click here for more information. 

Featured Study: The Development and Neural Bases of Emotion Processing in the First Year

Infants ages 5, 7, and 12 months

The ability to read emotions in facial expressions is a critical skill that helps us to navigate our social world. For example, being able to recognize a fearful, happy, or angry face is key to interacting successfully with the people around us. In this study, we aim to understand how this ability emerges and evolves throughout infancy. To do this, we will measure the brain’s response to a range of both human and animal faces with emotional expressions. We will also use eye-tracking to monitor how babies look at these faces, measures of skin conductance (sweat) to examine physiological response, and we will collect saliva samples for genetic analysis. By using these varied methods we aim to create a comprehensive picture that charts the developmental course of emotion processing in infancy, including the underlying neural architecture.

Ultimately, we aim to shed light on how emotion processing early in life influences later-emerging social-cognitive abilities, such as pro- and anti-social behavior, and how these early-appearing processes can be influenced by early experience or brain development. If we can create a road map for the typical development of these neural networks, we can potentially identify early markers for children who may be at risk for later issues such as anxiety or mood disorders. Early identification would allow for earlier intervention, which generally leads to better outcomes for children and their families.

For more information or to learn how you and your baby can participate, please contact Lina Montoya or Dana Bullister at 857-218-3660 or .

Do You Have a New Addition?
Congratulations! We have several ongoing infant studies, as well as a new project looking at emotion processing in the first year. If you have welcomed a new little one and would like to stay in the loop about studies that he or she may be eligible for, please let us know!

We have free parking and free child care for any older siblings that may tag along, and you will also get to take home a small toy and a "Neuroscientist in Training" onesie (as modeled by the twins below, who belong to our Lab Coordinator, Alissa).

To add your newest family member to the Participant Registry, please contact us by e-mail  or by phone at 617-355-0400.

To learn more about our current infant studies, please click here
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Division of Developmental Medicine Research Program
Boston Children's Hospital
1 Autumn St. 6th Floor
Boston MA 02115

Phone: 617.355.0400

Fax: 617.730.0518