Thomas G. O’Connor, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Wynne Center for Family Research, URMC
Thomas G. O’Connor is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Wynne Center for Family Research; he also has appointments in the Departments of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. An alumnus of the University of Rochester (BA 1989), he received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia (1995) and completed his clinical training at the George Washington University Medical Center (1995). His first academic post, from 1995-2003, he was at the Institute of Psychiatry (now the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience) in London. He has been at Rochester since 2003.
Professor O’Connor’s research seeks to identify the mechanisms by which early stress exposures, including those in the prenatal period, shape children’s long-term health and development. He is equally interested in how best to promote health and well-being. For these studies he employs observational, longitudinal, clinical and randomized trial designs. He is a co-author on over 200 research papers and a wide variety of other scholarly works. A clinical psychologist by training, Professor O’Connor’s research seamlessly crosses and integrates many disciplines. Although always focused on child and family processes, his current projects also employ technologies and techniques from neuroimaging, immunology, genetics, and microbiology. Consistent with his broad research interests, his research is funded by six separate institutes within the NIH.
He received distinguished awards for his research, which has been has been funded by the major health research councils in the UK, Canada and the US. He has served as a standing member on several NIH review councils and has served in numerous roles on editorial boards, including as joint editor. He remains actively involved in multiple international collaborations, and continues to be a mentor of undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty.
Among his current projects, Professor O’Connor is leading a Rochester effort that is part of the nationwide NIH program to understand early environment influences on child health outcomes (“ECHO”). This project integrates extensive accounting of prenatal exposures, close interrogation of the placenta, detailed studies of early parent-child interactions, and careful consideration of social and environmental factors that shape children’s health and development.