top of page
Core Principal Investigators

Katherine Magnuson, PhD

Lead PI, Social and Behavioral Science

Professor of Social Work, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Katherine Magnuson, PhD, is a Vilas Achievement Professor of Social Work and the Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was elected into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare in 2018. Her research focuses on the well-being and development of economically disadvantaged children and their families. She examines how disparities in socioeconomic status affect children’s development and how these effects may be altered by policies and programs, especially early childhood education programs.

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 4.43.15 PM.png

Kimberly Noble, MD, PhD

Lead PI, Neuroscience

 Professor of Neuroscience and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Kimberly Noble, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. As a neuroscientist and board-certified pediatrician, her research focuses on how socioeconomic inequality relates to children's cognitive and brain development. Dr. Noble was awarded a 2017 Association for Psychological Science Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, and the 2021 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest. She is an elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.   

Greg Duncan, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Education, University of California, Irvine

Greg Duncan, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. His recent work focuses on how school-entry skills and behaviors influence children’s later school achievement and attainment and how increasing income inequality can affect schools and influence children’s life chances. Dr. Duncan was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010, and in 2015 he received the Society for Research in Child Development’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy and Practice in Child Development.


Nathan Fox, PhD

Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

Nathan A. Fox, PhD, is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland. He conducts research on the effects of early experience on brain and behavioral development in infants and children. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the Society for Research in Child Development.


Lisa A . Gennetian, PhD

Pritzker Professor of Early Learning Policy Studies, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

Lisa A. Gennetian is a Pritzker Professor of Early Learning Policy Studies in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Dr. Gennetian’s research spans poverty and policy research, income security and stability, early care and education, and children’s development, with a lens toward causal mechanisms. In addition to her role in the Baby’s First Years study, Dr. Gennetian directs a body of research applying insights from behavioral economics to support parent engagement in, and enhance the impacts of, early childhood interventions and leads research on the economic circumstances of Hispanic children and families with the National Center for Research on Hispanic Families and Children.

Hirokazu Yoshikawa, PhD

Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education, NYU Steinhardt; Professor of Applied Psychology; Co-Director of the Global TIES for Children Center, New York University

Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education and co-director of the Global TIES for Children center at New York University. A community and developmental psychologist, he studies the effects of public policies and programs related to immigration, early childhood, and poverty reduction on children’s development in the United States and in low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Yoshikawa serves on the Russell Sage Foundation board of trustees and on the advisory boards of the Open Society Foundations Early Childhood Program and the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report. 

Lead Qualitative Study Researcher

Sarah Halpern-Meekin, PhD

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, and of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sarah Halpern-Meekin, PhD, is a Full Professor in the School of Human Ecology and the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the role of instability in family relationships and finances and on the ways public policy may affect these experiences.

Lead Electroencephalogram (EEG) Investigator
Sonya Troller-Renfree_Kym Fajardo_Central Park @  Bethesda Terrace_New York City_2020-10-15 500pm_1603140386_recVtqIqprkIRtchX_37_36.jpeg

Sonya Troller - Renfree , PhD

Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University

Sonya Troller-Renfree is an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on how early experiences, such as stress and adversity, shape neurocognitive and socioemotional development. Dr. Troller-Renfree is an expert in EEG data collection and analysis and has expertise in mobile and in-home EEG data collection and analysis. Her scientific contributions have been recognized by early career funding from NICHD and NSF, and she has been named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science.

bottom of page