The Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience
Meet Our People
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.
For more information about Dr. Nelson, please see his recent CV.
Click here to see news coverage of Dr. Nelson and the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience.
For a select list of publications, click here.
Grants Administrator (contact Kristine Robinson)
I joined the LCN in 2007. I received my B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Merrimack College. After several years of working in the financial service industry, I wanted to move to the non-profit sector,and working at Boston Children’s has been wonderful experience. It is incredibly rewarding to support research that stands to help so many children and families.
Research Communications & Outreach Coordinator (contact Rebecca Hansen)
I joined the LCN in June of 2007. Prior to that time, I worked in a variety of fields, including running a preschool after school program, promoting youth programs at a Boston public relations firm, and teaching college-level writing while pursuing my MFA at Emerson College. All of those experiences have been shaped by my interest in how children and adolescents learn, whether at the preschool or college level. Through my work here in the lab, I have been able to continue to pursue that interest in new and exciting ways. As Recruitment Coordinator, I have the opportunity to raise awareness of the lab's work within the Greater Boston community. I truly enjoy talking with people about how we are working to improve our understanding of infant and child development. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions, or if you are interested in signing up for our Participant Registry, through which families with infants and children have the option to be contacted about ongoing research opportunities.
Recruitment Associate (contact Stacey Wiesner)
I joined the LCN in July of 2009 after receiving my B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University. For 2.5 years, I served as the LCN's Lab Administrator. I have since shifted my focus to research participant recruitment, assisting with community outreach efforts and the expansion of the Division's Participant Registry.