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Our Team

Tom O'ConnorThomas G. O’Connor is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, 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).  From 1995-2003, he was at the Institute of Psychiatry in London.  He returned to the US and 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, and microbiology.  Consistent with his broad research interests, his current research is funded by six separate institutes within the NIH.

He received distinguished awards for his research and his research 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 as a scientist and mentor. 

Among his current projects, Professor O’Connor is leading a Rochester effort as part of a large NIH program to understand Environment influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO).  He is leading a multidisciplinary and multi-cohort seven-year study that tracks children’s development from the first trimester through their fourth birthday.  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.  Professor has a long history of mentoring students and junior faculty with varying interests and angles on clinical research. Current projects are providing a shared learning ground for many undergraduates and several PhD students.

Research Coordinators

Jessica Brunner

Allison Cunning

Gloria Wink

Allison Macomber

Ntemena Kapula

Leena Koury

Meghan Best

PhD Students

Ana Vallejo Sefair

Jishyra Serrano

Hannah Murphy

Allison Ciesla

Nashae Prout

Postdoctoral Researchers

Katy Tarrit

Lisa Panisch


Marcia Winter, PhD (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Emma Robertson-Blackmore, PhD (University of Florida)

International Collaborators

Stephen Scott

Vivette Glover

Kieran O’Donnell