UC Consortium on the Developmental Science of Adolescence

UC Consortium on the Developmental Science of Adolescence

Under the collaborative leadership of Andrew Fuligni and Adriana Galván (UCLA), Amanda Guyer and Paul Hastings (UC Davis) and Ron Dahl, Linda Wilbrecht, and Ahna Suleiman (UC Berkeley), we have received two years of funding from the University of California Office of the President Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) to support the planning and development of a University of California-wide Consortium on the Developmental Science of Adolescence.

We have three primary aims which we see as intimately intertwined and mutually-influential: (1) advancing the science of adolescence through the conduct of cutting-edge, transdisciplinary research; (2) student training at the graduate and postdoctoral levels; and (3) education and outreach to schools and adolescent-serving organizations. These aims will center on understanding adolescence at the intersection of biological, psychological, and behavioral development, and as embedded within contexts that can be used to leverage adolescents’ unique strengths and contributions to society.


Andrew Fuligni is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Psychology. He also is a Senior Scientist in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He also is a Senior Scientist in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Fuligni and his collaborators employ multiple methods to study the interaction between socio-cultural experience and biobehavioral development during adolescence and young adulthood, with particular attention to teenagers from Latin American, Asian, European, and immigrant backgrounds. Receiving his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan, he was a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Boyd McCandless Award for Early Career Contribution to Developmental Psychology, a William T. Grant Faculty Scholars Award, a FIRST award from NICHD, and he is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Fuligni recently completed a six-year term an Associate Editor of the journal Child Development.

Adriana Galván is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at UCLA. Her research is aimed at characterizing ontogenetic neural changes that occur as individuals transition into and out of adolescence. Her work in this domain has particularly focused on neural systems implicated in affective, cognitive and social processing, all of which contribute to characteristic adolescent behavior. Dr. Galván is also committed to studying the developing brain within the family and peer context. She relies on a multi method approach, including neuroimaging, physiological assays, daily diary and family interview methods to conduct this research.

Amanda E. Guyer is an Associate Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies Unit of the Department of Human Ecology. She is a member of the Center for Mind and Brain and the Center for Poverty Research at UCD, and training faculty of the Bay Area Affective Science Training Program (UCB, UCD, UCSF, Stanford). Dr. Guyer focuses on understanding brain and behavior underpinnings of adolescent psychopathology (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use) via social, emotional and cognitive processes. Dr. Guyer is currently conducting longitudinal studies of neurobiological, psychophysiological, and environmental influences on the course of depression and substance use in adolescence. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Yale University, and is a William T. Grant Scholar and a UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow. Her work has been supported by the NIMH, NSF, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and William T. Grant Foundation. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for Child Development.

Paul D. Hastings is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology. He is also a member of the Center for Mind and Brain and the Center for Poverty Research (both at UCD), and the Bay Area Affective Science Training Program (UCB, UCD, UCSF, Stanford). Together with his students and colleagues, Dr. Hastings examines biopsychosocial models of healthy and maladaptive social and emotional development in children and adolescents by studying the dynamic processes linking multiple levels of neurobiological activity (brain, endocrine, immunological and autonomic systems) and relationships and contexts (parents, peers, socioeconomic status, culture and ethnicity) to psychological functioning (particularly emotion regulation, empathy, compassion, prosocial behavior, anxiety and depression).

Linda Wilbrecht is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology where her research lab focuses on lab how experience alters neural circuits that contribute to value and reward based decision making. Her research goals include understanding how early life experience with unstable environments, stress or drugs of abuse might alter or limit human potential. She is particularly interested mechanisms that regulate sensitive periods for neural plasticity and how these map onto the maturation of frontal cortical-striatal circuits. Through better knowledge of neural plasticity and sensitive period regulation in frontal circuits, she hopes to identify strategies to facilitate change in neural circuits and promote healthy decision making. The Wilbrecht lab focuses largely on rodent models, but is also collecting their first data from human subjects. In these studies she is particularly interested in social and economic factors that impact future time perspective, risk taking, and decision making at puberty.

Ahna Suleiman is a Research Scientist with the Center on the Developing Adolescent. Ahna recently completed her DrPH at UC Berkeley and her research focuses on how adolescent social, emotional and adolescent development affect decision-making and the unique ways they influence sexual decision-making. She is interested in how neuroscience, behavioral economics, and health psychology can be integrated into improved public health interventions. Ahna is very interested in promoting transdisciplinary dialogue that promotes the translation of research into policy and practice. The ultimate goal of her research is to develop interventions that support healthy sexual development and improved sexual health outcomes for adolescents.

Ron Dahl is a pediatrician and developmental scientist with long-standing research interests in the development of sleep/arousal regulation, affect regulation and the development of behavioral and emotional disorders in children and adolescents. His current work focuses on adolescence as a developmental period with unique opportunities for early intervention in relation to a wide range of behavioral and emotional health problems. His research is interdisciplinary and bridges between basic developmental research (emphasizing social and affective neuroscience) and the translation of this work into clinical and social policy relevance. He has published extensively on child and adolescent development, sleep disorders, behavioral/emotional health in children, adolescent brain development, and on the policy implications of this work.

In addition to the above leadership team, the following faculty from each of the three Universities are also participating in the collaboration:

UCLA: Mirella Dapretto, Sandra Graham, Jaana Juvonen, Jennifer Silvers
UC Davis: Adrienne Nishina, Richard Robins, Kathi Conger, Camilla Hostinar
UC Berkeley: Julianna Deardorff, Emily Ozer, Jennifer Skeem