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Professor of Psychiatry, Neurobiology and Psychology


Professor of Psychiatry, Neurobiology and Psychology


UNC Hospitals – Chapel Hill

Education and Training:

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’s current research focuses on the effects of prenatal drug exposures on infant brain and behavioral development and on neurobiological correlates of mother-infant attachment formation. This includes MRI and EEG study of infant brain development, prenatal exposure effects on infant cognitive development and on the quality of infants’ attention-eliciting signals during mother-infant interactions, fMRI study of maternal brain activity which may be altered by perinatal drug use, and examination of maternal responses to infant contact. Another important focus is on the effects of lactation on mothers’ cardiovascular, neural, endocrine, metabolic and affective profiles. Dr Grewen has also 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 hormone markers of affiliation (oxytocin and vasopressin) and stress (catecholamines, cortisol, ACTH, salivary alpha amylase), measured in blood, urine and saliva. She is very interested in exploring the mechanisms by which positive social interactions between mother-infant and father-infant dyads translate into physiological responses that influence long-term health.


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Karen Grewen