Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience Staff
Charles A. Nelson, Ph.D.
Research Director, Division of Developmental Medicine (contact Charles A. Nelson)
Charles A. Nelson, III, Ph.D. is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience, where he has achieved numerous breakthroughs in broadening scientific understanding of brain and behavioral development during infancy and childhood. Over the last two decades, Dr. Nelson has focused his research efforts on several different fields. He has a long standing interest in the development and neural bases of memory and in how infants and young children come to recognize faces and facial expressions of emotion. A more recent interest concerns infants and children at high risk for developing autism (such as those with an older sibling with autism or who have a particular genetic variance).He also has a particular interest in how early experience influences the course of development, and in this context has studied both typically developing children and children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. Two lines of work in particular stand out in this context. One is concerned with the effects of early biological adversity, such as being born prematurely or low birth weight or having been deprived of oxygen. The second is concerned with the effects of early psychosocial adversity. In this regard, as a Primary Investigator for the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, for the last 10 years Dr. Nelson has been studying children in Romania who were abandoned at birth and raised in institutions.
Here at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Nelson is the Director of Research in the Division of Developmental Medicine and the Richard David Scott Professor of Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research. He is also a Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, an adjunct professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Professor in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health, at the Harvard School of Public Health. He also teaches classes in Harvard College, and serves on the steering committee of both the Harvard interfaculty initiative on Mind, Brain and Behavior, and the Harvard Center on the Developing Child.
Dr. Nelson is frequently cited in print and TV media on topics as diverse as early brain development, the development of face perception, memory development, the effects of early psychosocial deprivation on development, and autism. He has published over 200 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, has edited 8 books, and written 2 books. He has also been a successful leader of large-scale research initiatives within the psychology and neuroscience communities.
Click here to see news coverage of Dr. Nelson and the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience.
For a select list of publications, click here.
Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience Program Manager (contact Alissa Westerlund)
I received my bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of North Dakota in 1997 and have had the pleasure of working as Dr. Nelson's Lab Coordinator since 1999. I oversee Dr. Nelson's large research program on the typical development of face processing, and since moving to the Boston area in 2005 we have continued our exciting work on projects with research groups around the world. My graduate work in child public health and toxicology has been complementary to several projects, including the work in Chile that is examining the long-term outcomes of iron deficiency, a project conducted in the Inuit community in northern Quebec examining the long-term effects of exposure to environmental contaminants, as well as the research being done in Romania that is examining the efficacy of foster care as a means of remediating early deprivation suffered during early institutionalization.
Outreach and Recruitment Associate (contact Tara Middleton)
I joined the LCN in the summer of 2013 after receiving my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Vermont. I focused the majority of my studies on communications and child development. I am also very interested in marketing strategies for non-profit organizations, and I am currently pursuing my M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Emerson College. Here at the LCN, I am the Outreach and Recruitment Associate, and in this position I focus on community outreach efforts and recruitment of families for our projects.
LCN Administrator (contact Lee Anglin)
I graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2013 with a degree in Philosophy. I focused the majority of my studies on philosophy for children and educational psychology. During high school I worked in a charter school in Dorchester. In college I did community based learning at an elementary school to supplement courses I was taking. I have always enjoyed working with children, and this February I joined the LCN as an administrative associate, where I help with the daily operations of the labs.
Click the links below to view the lab members from each of our four labs: