Margaret Sheridan, Ph.D received her degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. After completing her clinical internship at NYU Child Study Center/Bellevue Hospital, she spent three years as a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at Harvard School of Public Health and is now an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School at Boston Children’s Hospital. The goal of her research is to better understand the neural underpinnings of the development of cognitive control across childhood (from 5-18 years of age) and to understand how and why disruption in this process results in psychopathology. In collaboration with her lab (Sheridan Lab, within the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience) she approaches this problem in two ways; first, by studying atypical development, in particular children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Second, by studying the effect of experience on brain development, specifically, the effect of adversity on development. Childhood adversity is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of negative experiences children can have ranging from growing up in poverty, maltreatment, to living in an institution as an infant or child. While the Sheridan lab is focused on using neuroscience to solve real world problems such as creating safer, healthier environments for all children, they pursue these goals using the tools of cognitive neuroscience. Most recently Dr. Sheridan has focused on distinguishing how different adverse experiences, such as those characterized by deprivation versus those characterized by trauma may come to influence neural development differently.
On joining the Faculty of the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior, Dr. Sheridan writes:
“I am excited to be joining the faculty at CLBB! The focus within the CLBB on exploring the intersection of neuroscience and law is particularly relevant to my work. First, I am interested in how adverse early environments lead to increases in behaviors that are known risk factors for incarceration (e.g., impulsivity and risk-taking behavior). Second, the experiences of incarceration, for the developing brain, are a psychosocial and cognitive deprivation. Much of my work has been focused on the toll that these form of deprivation can take on the brain development.”