Research: ECHO

Our NIH-sponsored ECHO project (named resonance) focuses on understanding how a wide variety of environmental exposures affect child neurodevelopmental and mental health outcomes.  These include early nutrition and eating habits, sleep, activity, our home environment, our microbiome, our genetics, even a child’s in utero environment.  This project combines the expertise of leading investigators from across the USA into a single team.  Beyond this team, we are working with 35 other teams across the US to understand not only neurodevelopment, but also how early life exposures affect childhood obesity, asthma, and other pre and post-natal outcomes.

Sean Deoni, PhD (Physics), is the Director of MRI at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, and Director of the Advanced Baby Imaging Lab.  His research interests focus on the use of advanced neuroimaging techniques to study the developing brain.  His favourite cartoon character is Rex from Toy Story..”Roarrrr, did that scare you? Tell me honestly”.

Jane-Ling Wang, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Davis. Her research areas include dimension reduction methods, analysis of event time and history,  and modeling functional or longitudinal data. She has collaborated with many domain scientists including a team of researchers in aging research, medical doctors, and neuroscientists.

Hans-Georg Müller, PhD (Mathematics)-MD is a Distinguished Professor of Statistics at University of California, Davis. He develops statistical methodology and theory and has worked on various applications of statistics in the life and social sciences, including aging and longevity, demography, genomics, neuroimaging, and the analysis of growth data. His recent interests include functional data analysis for longitudinal data as well as quantifying the time dynamics of networks and of the dependence between complex random objects. Hans' favorite characters are Asterix and Obelix when they outwit the Roman Empire.

Viren D’Sa, MD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Brown University School of Medicine and Director of the New England Pediatric Institute of Neurodevelopment.

Susan Carnell, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research interests include neuroimaging studies of appetite and obesity, and genetic and environmental influences on children's eating behavior. Her favorite cartoon character is Toroto, a friendly forest spirit animal

Matt Huentelman, PhD is a Professor of Neurogenomics and Scientific Director of the Center for Rare Childhood Disorders at the non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, in Phoenix, Arizona. He studies the genomics of childhood and age-related health and disease with the ultimate goal of the development of more personalized and improved diagnostics and therapeutics. His favorite cartoon character is Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory.

Joseph Braun, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at Brown University.

Vanja Klepac-Ceraj, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Wellesley College. She is a microbial ecologist who studies how environmental factors influence microbe-microbe interactions and overall microbial community stability. She is also studies how microbial community composition relates to its function, and in turn, its impact on the environment (such as human host).  Vanja's favorite cartoon character is Professor Balthazar, a character from a Croatian cartoon. Prof. Balthazar is a funny and friendly scientist who comes up with the most creative solution to the weirdest problems by using a magic machine and his imagination

Monique LeBourgeois, PhD is Assistant Professor and director of the Sleep and Development Laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder.  Dr. LeBourgeois' research focuses on the intimate intertwining between sleeping and waking brain activity, physiology, and behavior during early childhood. She uses longitudinal and experimental approaches to understand developmental changes in  sleep and circadian rhythms, as well as the health and neurodevelopmental consequences of children not getting enough sleep.  Her favorite cartoon character is Road Runner - beep beep!

As part of this project, we are recruiting soon-to-be and current mothers with infants less than 6 months of age. The study involves assessments of maternal and fetal / infant nutritional health, cognitive performance (such as IQ, language development, etc.) and brain development (assessed by ultrasound, US, and magnetic resonance imaging, MRI). We also have detailed questionnaires about sleep, eating behaviours, family environment, and child activities.  All assessments are safe and painless for you and your infant.  


In addition to the ABI Lab, our ECHO project also includes our ‘sister’ lab in Colorado - the Colorado Healthy Infant Learning & Development (CHILD) Lab. 


All participating families will be reimbursed for their time and travel, and receive study-related information related to their child.


For further information or to enrol, please contact:


General Questions: (401) 338-6943