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Linda Lagasse, PHD, SCM

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Linda Lagasse

Title: Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Research), Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior (Research)
Department: Department of Pediatrics, Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior

+1 401 453 7629

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Overview | Research | Grants/Awards | Teaching | Publications

1. To study the effects of prenatal exposure to drugs of abuse on child development
2. To study the effects of cognitive processes on directed reaching in high risk children


Dr. Linda LaGasse is Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Research) and Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research) and the Director of Research at the Brown Center for the Study of Infants at Risk at Brown University. Dr. LaGasse has studied prenatal exposure to drugs of abuse on development including cognitive-motor processes, behavior problems and early initiation of drug use. Her ongoing focus is on two multi-site, longitudinal studies of children with prenatal exposure to methamphetamine and adolescents with prenatal exposure to cocaine. Dr. LaGasse is also PI of an international study in New Zealand extending her work on prenatal methamphetamine exposure. Currently underway is a new study of the impact of prenatal SRI exposure on fine motor control using kinematic analyses. Dr. LaGasse has over 80 peer reviewed publications, serves on the Editorial Board of Neurotoxicology and Teratology and has been supported by NIH grants for the past 15 years.



Research Description

I have been studying children and adolescents who are part of the multi-site, NIH Maternal Lifestyle Study (MLS), a longitudinal study of 1000 children prenatally exposed to cocaine. The MLS children are now adolescents, and my current work focuses on the etiology of poor outcomes beginning in infancy. Two examples of recent papers include predictors of obesity (MLS children exceed the national average for obesity) and pathways to antisocial behavior and early substance use. I am also studying children who are part of the multi-site NIH Infant Development, Environment, and Lifestyle (IDEAL) Study, a longitudinal study of 400 children prenatally exposed to methamphetamine during pregnancy. My current work in the IDEAL study collects epigenetic material abd cortisol from hair to determine the role of stress in the lives of exposed children at ages 10 to 12 years. My secondary research area merges cognition with kinematic analysis of directed reaches in high risk children. Kinematic analysis provides a high resolution description of reaching efficiency (e.g, number of movement units, acceleration). My current study applies kinematic analysis to children exposed to depression and/or SSRIs during pregnancy. The paradign includes reaching and grasping with full sight of hand and object; with sight of the object but not the hand (room is dark but object glows); and from memory as neither hand or object is visable. In my role of Director of Research, I am the scientific administrator with oversight of the neurobehavioral data center that conducts data base development, data reduction and analysis. In this role I assist investigators in development of new studies providing assistance and support as needed.


Society for Research in Child Development
American Psychological Society
American Psychological Association
International Society for Infant Studies

Funded Research

Infants' Understanding of Auditory Events, (DBS-9396020) National Science Foundation, $18,000, 1 year, September 1992 to February 1995. Principal Investigator.

Cocaine/Alcohol Exposure and Infant Outcome, (42-USC-241-42-CRF-52) National Institute on Drug Abuse, $50,000, 1 year, September 1996 to August 1997. Principal Investigator.

Cocaine Exposure: Reaching, Kinematics and Cognition, (RO3-DA10817) National Institute on Drug Abuse, $96,326, 2 years, February 1997 to January 1999. Principal Investigator.

Neurodevelopmental Battery for the Maternal Lifestyle Study, (N01-HD-2-3159) National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, 4 years, $2,943,613, October 1, 2003 to September 31, 2008. Co-Principal Investigator.

Methamphetamine Exposure and Child Development (RO1 DA14948) National Institute on Drug Abuse, $6,574,167, 5 years, September 2001 to August 2007. Co-Investigator.

Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and Child Development in New Zealand and USA, (RO1 DA021757) National Institute on Drug Abuse, $1,916,344, 5 years, September 5, 2007- August 31, 2013. Principal Investigator.

Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and School Aged Outcome (RO1 DA14948) National Institute on Drug Abuse, $7,502,249, 5 years, September 2007 to November 2013. Co- Investigator.

Maternal Lifestyle Study -Phase 5 (Data Sharing) (U10 DA 024199-04S1) National Institute on Drug Abuse, $108,029. 3 years, September 2011 to June 2012. Co- Investigator.

Maternal Lifestyle Study 13-15 Year Follow-Up (U10 DA 024199-02S2) National Institute on Drug Abuse, $1,618,964. 3.6 years, April 2008 to March 2013. Co- Investigator.

Epigenetics in Neurodevelopment and Mental Health (R01MH094609) National Institute of Mental Health Subaward $228,339. 3 years. July 2013-June 2014. Co-Investigator.

Fetal and Neonatal Neurobehavior and Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure: The Child (R01MH078033) National Institute of Mental Health. $3,001,770. 5 years, February 2013 to January 2018. Co-Investigator.

Neonatal Neurobehavior and Outcomes in Very Preterm Infants (R01HD072267) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child health & Human Development. $3,035,752. 5 years. September 3, 2013- August 2018. Co-Investigator.

Teaching Experience

Undergraduate Advisor, Brown University: Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA), Program in Liberal Medical Eduction (PLME) summer research assistantship, senior honors and independent research.

Graduate/Fellowship training: Masters, PhD, Pediatric and post doctoral fellows.

Primary focus: Implications of prenatal drug exposure on cognitive-motor control, neurobehavior, growth.