HRP SU20-13: Research Opportunity with Dr. Damion Grasso

Project Mentor

Dr. Damion Grasso 
Department of Psychiatry

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description Student effort would involve interacting with human research participants and participating in data collection/management on two primary projects conducted at our Family Adversity and Resilience Research Program in West Hartford. The first is a follow-up component of an NICHD funded study examining the intergenerational transmission of trauma and stress in mothers and their infants. Research activities involve a 3-hour visit in which mother and infant participate in a laboratory stress paradigm and physiological data are collected to measures infant stress reactivity. The second is an NIMH funded study examining biological and behavioral indicators of stress reactivity to explain the relationship between early violence exposure and mental health problems in 4- to 6-year-old children. Research activities involve a 4-hour visit with parent and child specific assessments and mother-child tasks.
Project Direction Studies conducted within our Family Adversity and Resilience Research (FARR) program focus on identifying ways to promote healthy development in children who have experienced stressful life events and other kinds of adversity. We specifically are working to identify social and biological factors that buffer or exacerbate trauma- or violence-related risk and that are potentially modifiable. The mother-infant study focuses on very early risk in infants that may be influenced by mothers’ own history of adversity. The second study focuses on risk in young children that is associated with early exposure to violence in the home. Both studies have public health and clinical implications for helping these vulnerable populations.
Mentorship and Supervision The student will meet with the mentor at least once weekly and more as needed to monitor progress and receive/provide feedback on the experience. The student will have several opportunities to shadow roles on the project in order to gain proficiency before serving that role independently. The student will be provided further training as appropriate to the task. Guided reading of current literature pertinent to the research will be encouraged.
Student Qualifications Undergraduate students who have taken courses in psychology, social work, or a related field and who are in excellent academic standing may apply to gain research experience in our laboratory. Research experience in other labs is appreciated.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 26 to July 31, 2020
Schedule: M-F, 9am-5pmLaboratory visits can occur during the day, late afternoon to early evening, or on weekends. Students will be asked to be flexible in their availability so that they can be assigned to scheduled visits – typically determined 2-3 weeks in advance.
Project Continuation Fall 2020, Spring 2021
Academic Year Time Commitment  6  hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, February 3, 2020.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, a brief statement of research interests, a brief statement of career interests, and contact information for references.