Co-directed by Drs. Cynthia Rogers and Christopher Smyser, the WUNDER Lab investigates the neural and social mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental impairments in children. We focus on structural and functional connectivity in preterm neonates, as well as defining the role of social adversity on neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Our Projects


Very Preterm, or VPT, children were born at less than 30 weeks gestation. As these infants survive into later childhood, we have found that many of these children experience learning and motor problems. The overall purpose of this research is to improve our understanding of why premature infants are at risk for learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and motor problems later in childhood.


The WUNDER Lab has recruited mothers enrolled in the March of Dimes 1000 Women Cohort study to participate in the eLABE study. Through eLABE, we hope to better understand how experiences during pregnancy and early infant life affect both mothers’ and children’s well-being. Mothers in this study will soon deliver or have delivered recently.

White Matter Injury (WMI)

Brain injury is prevalent in infants born prematurely, most frequently involving cerebral white matter. As these babies grow up, we have found that many of them have learning and movement problems. Our White Matter Injury (WMI) cohort is allowing us to have a greater understanding of mechanisms responsible for these deficits. Additionally, we are hoping to learn more about the relationship between magnetic resonance image (MRI) findings at birth and early childhood development.


Cannabis use is increasingly viewed with greater permissiveness in the United States. Rates of prenatal
cannabis use (PCU) have also increased. This study will investigate the potential mechanisms by which
prenatal cannabis exposure experienced in utero may impact the offspring’s brain at birth, and their cognitive,
motor, and social-emotional development in the first 18 months of life.


HEALthy Brain Child Development (HBCD)

This study will determine the feasibility of conducting a large, national multi-site study investigating the impact of early life exposure to opioids on brain and behavioral development across childhood.


Our Team