Who We Are

The Center for the Developing Adolescent emphasizes a team science approach. Our Board of Directors and advisory councils incorporate expertise from the areas of developmental science, social, affective, and cognitive neuroscience, and clinical, educational, public health, cultural, social, and global perspectives on adolescence.

Center for the Developing Adolescent Leadership Team

Ron Dahl is the Chief Science Officer for the Center, providing the strategic vision for the Center’s research agenda. He is the director of the Institute of Human Development and professor in the School of Public Health and the Joint Medical Program at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also runs the Adolescent Research Collaborative (ARC). The research agenda that Ron maintains at UC Berkeley aligns with the work and goals of the Center.

Dr. Dahl is a pediatrician and developmental scientist with long-standing research interests in the development of sleep/arousal regulation, affect regulation, and the development of behavioral and emotional disorders in children and adolescents. His current work focuses on adolescence as a developmental period with unique opportunities for early intervention in relation to a wide range of behavioral and emotional health problems. Dr. Dahl is also founding editor of the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and is a former president of the Society for Research in Child Development.

Andrew Fuligni is professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Psychology at UCLA; director of the Adolescent Development Lab at UCLA; a senior scientist in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior; and a member of the Center’s Advisory Board.

Dr. Fuligni and his collaborators study the interaction between socio-cultural experience and biobehavioral development during adolescence and young adulthood, with particular attention to teenagers from Latin American, Asian, European, and immigrant backgrounds. He was a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Boyd McCandless Award for Early Career Contribution to Developmental Psychology, a William T. Grant Faculty Scholars Award, a FIRST award from NICHD, and he is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Fuligni recently completed a six-year term an associate editor of the journal Child Development.

Adriana Galván is professor of psychology and director of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at UCLA. Her research is aimed at characterizing neural changes that occur as individuals transition into and out of adolescence. Her work in this domain has particularly focused on neural systems implicated in affective, cognitive, and social processing, all of which contribute to characteristic adolescent behavior.

Dr. Galván is also committed to studying the developing brain within the family and peer context. She relies on a multi-method approach, including neuroimaging, physiological assays, daily diary, and family interview methods to conduct this research. She is a U.S. Fulbright Scholar, a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and recipient of the American Psychological Association Early Career Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award, and the Department of Psychology Distinguished Teaching Award, among others.

Nicholas Allen is the Ann Swindells Professor of Clinical Psychology and director of the Center for Digital Mental Health at the University of Oregon. Dr. Allen is a leading researcher in the area of clinical depression, known especially for his work on the relationship between biological and interpersonal aspects of adolescent development and risk for the onset of depression.

His recent work focuses on identifying potent, modifiable risk factors for poor mental health during adolescence, and developing and testing preventative interventions that target these risk factors. The aim of this work is to not only shed light on the underlying causes of mental health and ill health during these stages of life, but also to inform innovative approaches to early intervention and prevention. He currently serves as a commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Global Adolescent Health and Wellbeing.

Jennifer Pfeifer is professor in the Department of Psychology and the Director of the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab at the University of Oregon. Dr. Pfeifer is interested in how affect, motivation, regulation, self-evaluation, and social perception interact across contexts, manifest at the neural level, and influence adolescent choices and well-being. She studies the development of these related phenomena at multiple levels, with the goal of enabling healthy transitions from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. She is also interested in how functional brain development is affected by various endogenous and exogenous factors such as pubertal development and early adversity.

Her work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Science Foundation, and the Oregon Medical Research Foundation.

Linda Wilbrecht is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at UC Berkeley. Her research lab focuses on how experience alters neural circuits that contribute to value- and reward-based decision making. Through better knowledge of neural plasticity and sensitive period regulation in frontal circuits, she hopes to identify strategies to facilitate change in neural circuits and promote healthy decision making.

Dr. Wilbrecht is particularly interested in social and economic factors that impact future time perspective, risk taking, and decision making at puberty. She is recipient of the 2009 NIMH Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS award) and the 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE).

Center for the Developing Adolescent Staff

Meghan Lynch Forder

Meghan Lynch Forder

Meghan Lynch Forder is the Communications Director for the Center for the Developing Adolescent. She is responsible for the Center’s content development, social media presence, and media relations. Meghan started her career in television news and has since developed, written, and edited content for all types of media and audiences. She has a master’s degree in strategic communications from American University.