Assistant Professor of Human Development
309A Health & Human Development East
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802
My research expertise and interests are in the area of developmental neuroscience of psychopathology. I am particularly interested in how children develop behavior problems such as aggression, hyperactivity, and substance abuse. Research has shown that such problems likely evolve when innate vulnerability interacts with environmental stressors. Understanding the neurobiological dysfunction that contributes to this vulnerability informs the identification of experiential and environmental factors that exacerbate or ameliorate risk. Identification of these factors positions researchers, and eventually policy makers, to implement changes in the environment that may alter these trajectories and improve developmental outcomes.
My research focus is on the development of externalizing disorders in childhood, which include attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), substance use disorders (SUDs), and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) in adulthood. Vulnerability for the development of each of these disorders is thought to stem from a common latent trait. One candidate for this trait is impulsivity or a tendency toward sensation seeking. There is much evidence to suggest that corticolimbic dopamine systems are compromised in vulnerable individuals.
There are two important questions that remain to be answered about this dysfunction: 1) when and how does this dysfunction develop? and 2) can we do anything to prevent it or alter it during development? My research aims to address these questions across various research projects.
I am very interested in how the initial vulnerability is established within the developing nervous system. Although much attention has been paid to genetic factors, the search for relevant genotypes has produced very few results. A deeper understanding of the biological contextual factors that affect gene expression and “program” the developing nervous system to establish temperamental vulnerability is deeply needed and I am interested in pursuing the chemical interface between environment and brain development and its impact on the development of psychopathology.
Furthermore, I am interested in understanding treatment for externalizing behavior from a neurobiological perspective. I am currently conducting two studies looking at different aspects of treatment. In the first I am interested in examining the effectiveness of psychostimulant medication (such as Ritalin) in altering various markers of neurobiological function to determine if psychophysiological techniques can be useful in predicting treatment response and tailoring treatment programs, and to identify familial factors which may moderate the success of stimulant treatment. The second is using psychophysiological techniques to examine the effectiveness of an intensive clinical intervention program for highly aggressive kindergarten children. Because of the extensive brain development occurring at this age, it is possible that intervention programs succeed by facilitating neural growth and development in key regions. Alternatively, neurobiological vulnerability may moderate intervention success and may be a useful predictor of treatment non-response. By understanding more about the underlying characteristics of individuals who do not respond to current standards of treatment, new techniques and programs can be developed to more effectively tailor treatment and increase overall success.
B.S., 1996, University of California, Santa Barbara, Biopsychology
Ph.D., 2003, University of Sourthern California, Clinical Neuroscience
National Institute of Mental Health Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program, 2004-2006
Individual National Research Service Award, Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, National Institute of Mental Health, 2000-2004
Final Year Dissertation Award, University of Southern California, 2002-2003
2007-Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University
2003-2007: Post Doctoral Research Associate, Univeristy of Washington
2005: Instructor, University of Washington
1998-2003: Pre-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Southern California
Ram, N., Grimm, K. J., Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., & Molenaar, P. C. M. (in press). Longitudinal mixture models and the identification of archetypes: Action-adventure, mystery, science fiction, or romance? In Lauresen, Little & Card (Eds.) Handbook of Developmental Methods.
Gatzke-Kopp, L. M. (2010) The canary in the coalmine: The sensitivity of mesolimbic dopamine to environmental adversity during development. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. Epub ahead of print.
Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Beauchaine, T. P., Shannon, K. E., Chipman, J., Fleming, A. P., Crowell, S. E., Liang, O, Johnson, L. C., & Aylward, E. (2009). Neurological correlates of reward responding in adolescents with conduct disorder and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 203-213.
Beauchaine, T. P., Neuhaus, E., Brenner, S. L., & Gatzke-Kopp, L. (2008). Ten good reasons to consider biological variables in prevention and intervention research. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 745-774.
Gatzke-Kopp, L. M. & Beauchaine, T. P. (2007). Central nervous system substrates of impulsivity: Implications for the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder. In D. Coch, g. Dawson, & K. Fischer (Eds.), Human behavior and the developing brain: Atypical development (239-263). New York: Guilford Press.
Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., & Beauchaine, T. P. (2007). Direct and passive prenatal nicotine exposure and the development of externalizing psychopathology. Child Psychiatry and Human Development.
Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., & Beauchaine, T.P. (2007). Patterns of psychopathology in the families of children with conduct problems, depression and both psychiatric conditions. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35, 301-312.
Raine, A., Dodge, K., Loeber, R., Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Lynam, D. Reynolds, C., Stouthhamer-Loeber, M., & Liu, J. (2006). The Reactive-Proactive Aggression (RPQ) Questionnaire: Differential correlates of reactive and proactive aggression in adolescent boys. Aggressive Behavior 32, 159-171.
Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Raine, A., Loeber, S., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., & Steinhauer, S. R., (2002). Serious delinquent behavior, sensation-seeking and electrodermal arousal. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30(5), 477-486.
Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Raine, A., Buchsbaum, M., & LaCasse, L. (2001). Temporal lobe EEG deficits in murderers not detected by PET. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 13(4), 486-491.
Lisa Gatzke-Kopp vitae
- Human Development
- Domains of Health and Behavior