Karen M. Grewen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Neurobiology and Psychology

 

Grewen, Karen


Email: karen_grewen@med.unc.edu

Phone: (919) 966-2544






Education:

B.A., Psychology, University of San Francisco
M.A., Biological Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ph.D., Biological Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine, University of Pittsburgh


Summary Statement:

Dr. Grewen examines the effects of social affiliation and stress on endocrine, neural, and cardiovascular activity, with a focus on potential biologic mediators. A primary focus is on the affiliative hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin, measured in blood, urine and saliva. She is very interested in exploring the mechanisms by which positive social interactions between couples, mother-infant, and father-infant dyads translate into physiological responses that influence long term health. Her current research focuses on the effects of prenatal cocaine and nicotine exposures on neurobiological correlates of mother-infant attachment formation, infant brain development and maternal neural responses to infant-related cues. This includes examination of maternal responses to infant contact, fMRI study of maternal brain activity which may be altered by perinatal drug use, MRI and EEG study of infant brain development, and prenatal exposure effects on infant behaviors including the quality of infants’ attention-eliciting signals (infant cry characteristics, behavior during mother-infant interactions). She is also researching the potential utility of non-invasive methods of assessing oxytocin and vasopressin activity from urine and saliva samples. Another important focus is on the effects of breast-feeding vs. formula- feeding on mothers’ cardiovascular, neural, endocrine, and affective profiles and on how physiological correlates of lactation may impact mothers’ long term mental and physical health.


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