Research

The Nurture Science Program is a team consisting of outstanding scientists and clinicians who are dedicated to the exploration of the biological and behavioral basis of the beneficial effects of nurture. The members of the Nurture Science Program believe that the establishment and maintenance of optimal parent-child interactions (nurture) affects subsequent physiological and psychological development of the child and the well-being of the family.

The Nurture Science Program is unique in bringing together a multidisciplinary team that combines the talents and perspectives of basic, translational, and clinical scientists. Insights derived from the fields of cell biology and neurobiology are combined with behavioral physiology and psychiatry to focus on the biology of nurture and to devise practical therapies that harness it.

Our overarching goal is to test Family Nurture Intervention's ability to enhance child development. Preterm infants are at high risk for emotional, behavioral, and developmental disorders including autism and eating disorders. The requisite life-saving care for these infants causes mother-infant separation just at the time that the mother normally inoculates her baby against stress through continuous physical reciprocal calming interactions. Preterm infants offer an opportunity to establish a true prevention model of early intervention through mother-infant nurture interactions in the very first days of their lives.

Family Nurture Intervention is a multi-generational therapy. As such, it can help bring the family together and identify ways family members can help to regulate the child through enhanced calming activities of nurture.