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Post-doctoral Researchers

Brittany Howell, Ph.D. (August 2014 to Present)

Brittany as a baby. Brittany Howell

Dr. Howell earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., in 2013 after having earned her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology and Neuroscience in 2006 from Tulane University, New Orleans, La. She has studied several systems, from individual cells to rodents and nonhuman primates. During her doctoral dissertation, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Mar Sanchez at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, where her dissertation focused on determining the effects of infant maltreatment on neurodevelopment and how these alterations are related to psychopathology in rhesus monkeys (part of Project III of the Early Experience, Stress, and Neurobehavioral Development Center, headed by Dr. Megan Gunnar). She applied in vivo imaging techniques to follow structural changes in the brains of rhesus macaques with histories of maternal physical abuse and neglect longitudinally, from birth through the juvenile period. Her current work as a postdoctoral fellow in the ELAB is focused on understanding the biological pathways through which mothers modulate brain development in their babies. These pathways include bioactive constituents of breast milk and effects on the microbiome. Her goal is to combine her nonhuman primate expertise with the knowledge and experience with humans she will gain from her work with Dr. Elison to develop a truly translational research program that will ultimately result in effective preventative therapies and treatments in humans exposed to adversity early in life.

Nadja Richter, Ph.D. (October 2016 to Present)

Nadja Richter

Nadja Richter is a postdoctoral associate and has recently joined our lab. She completed her doctorate in Germany, at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, working with Daniel Haun and Harriet Over. Prior to starting her postdoc at the University of Minnesota, Nadja did research at Princeton University with Yarrow Dunham and taught at the Department of Developmental Psychology at the University of Jena, Germany. Nadja’s research lies at the intersection of social and developmental psychology. How do humans relate to one another, physically and psychologically? Exploring the origins and underlying mechanisms of social distance, social assortment and affiliative motivation are Nadja’s key research interests.