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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.

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Kimberly Noble, MD, PhD

Lead PI, Neuroscience

 Professor of Neuroscience and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Kimberly Noble, MD, PhD, is aa Professor of Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. As a neuroscientist and board-certified pediatrician, she directs the Neurocognition, Early Experience, and Development Lab, where she and her team study 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 has been elected a 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 Associate 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. 

Qualitative Sub-Study Principal Investigator

Sarah Halpern-Meekin, PhD

Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sarah Halpern-Meekin, PhD, is an Associate 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.


Sarah Black, PhDAssistant Professor of Psychology, University of New Orleans

William Fifer, PhD, Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry and Pediatrics) and Associate Director of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Columbia University Medical Center


Michael Georgieff, MD, Martin Lenz Harrison Land Grant Chair in Pediatrics, Professor of Pediatrics and Child Psychology, Director of the Division of Neonatology, Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and Director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Development, University of Minnesota


Joseph Isler, PhD, Associate Research Scientist in Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center


Connie Lamm, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Arts & Sciences, University of Arkansas


Dennis Molfese, PhD, Mildred Francis Thompson Professor in Social Sciences (retired), Chancellor’s Professor, and Director of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Victoria Molfese, PhD, Professor Emerita, University of Nebraska, Lincoln


Jennifer Mize Nelson, PhD, Director of Research Strategy and Infrastructure, Office of Research, and Associate Research Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln


Timothy Nelson, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Sonya Troller-Renfree, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Teachers College, Columbia University


Alicia Kunin-Batson, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota

Charles A. Nelson III, Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Education, Harvard University; Richard David Scott Chair in Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research, Boston Children’s Hospital

Charles Zeanah, Sellars-Polchow Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Vice-Chair for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Executive Director of the Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Tulane University

Study Management

Lauren Meyer, National Project Director, Teachers College, Columbia University

Andrea Karsh, Administrative Director, School of Education, University of California, Irvine

Data Collection Team

Stephanie Chardoul, Director of Survey Research Operations, Survey Research Operations, University of Michigan


Piotr Dworak, Senior Survey Specialist, Survey Research Operations, University of Michigan

Post-Doctoral and Graduate Student Researchers

Daniela Alvarez-Vargas, Doctoral Student, School of Education, University of California, Irvine

Molly Constanzo, PhD, Research Scientist, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Jill Hoiting, Doctoral Student, School of Social Work University of Wisconsin, Madison

Maritza Morales-Gracia, Doctoral Student, School of Education, University of California, Irvine​

Elizabeth Premo, Doctoral Student, School of Social Work University of Wisconsin, Madison


Maria Sauval, Doctoral Student, School of Education, University of California, Irvine

Molly Scott, PhD, Post Doctoral Research Scholar, Teachers College, Columbia University

Michelle Spiegel, Doctoral Student, School of Education, University of California, Irvine

Paul Yoo, Doctoral Student, School of Education, University of California, Irvine

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