Elysia Davis

Professor

What I do

Dr. Davis is a Professor of Psychology who engages in research and teaching primarily focusing on understanding pathways by which prenatal experiences influence developmental trajectories through early adulthood and ways that early intervention can benefit mothers and their children.

Professional Biography

Dr. Elysia Poggi Davis is a Professor of Psychology. In collaboration with her students she conducts a program of research evaluates the way that biological and behavioral processes during the prenatal period are incorporated into the developmental program and the influence this has on physical and mental health across the lifespan. Professor Davis’ research contributed to an important shift in our understanding of health and wellbeing. It now is evident that in order to understand individual differences in health and development it is essential to consider the fetal experiences. The prospective and longitudinal studies that she has conducted provide compelling evidence that prenatal maternal stress and stress hormones have profound and lasting consequences for fetal development, birth outcome, and subsequent child and adult health and disease risk. Professor Davis has led research program that has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for the past 15 years and she has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters.

These interdisciplinary research projects involve collaborations with students and faculty from disciplines including psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, social work and obstetrics. Ongoing research relies on collaboration with Denver area hospitals including integration of mental health treatment into obstetric practice. These research studies provide multiple training opportunities for postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students to develop research their interests in ways that are clinically meaningful and to gain grant and paper writing experience.

Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Minnesota, 2002

Professional Affiliations

  • Society for Research In Child Development

Key Projects

  • Reducing Fetal Exposure to Maternal Depression to Improve Infant Risk Mechanisms
  • Fragmented Early Life Environmental and Emotional/Cognitive Vulnerabilities
  • Preconception and Prenatal Stress: Pathways to Child Biology and Behavior
  • Vulnerability to Prenatal Glucocorticoids Programs Infant Development

Featured Publications

Davis, E. P., Hankin, B. L., Swales, D. A., & Hoffman, M. C. (2018). An experimental test of the fetal programming hypothesis: Can we reduce child ontogenetic vulnerability to psychopathology by decreasing maternal depression? Developmental Psychopathology, 30, 787-806.
Davis, E. P., Stout, S. A., Molet, J., Vegetabile, B., Glynn, L. M., Sandman, C. A., et al. (2017). Exposure to unpredictable maternal sensory signals influences cognitive development across-species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(39), 10390-10395.
Glynn, L. M., Hal, S., Howland, M. A., Risbrough, V., Baker, D., Nievergelt, C. M., et al. (2019). Measuring novel antecedents of mental illness: the Questionnaire of Unpredictability in Childhood. Neuropsychopharmacology.
Davis, E. P., Hankin, B. L., Glynn, L. M., Head, K., Kim, D., & Sandman, C. A. (1970). Prenatal maternal stress, child cortical thickness and adolescent depression: Evidence for a neurodevelopmental risk model. Child Development.
Davis, E. P., Head, K., Buss, C., & Sandman, C. A. (2017). Prenatal maternal cortisol concentrations predict neurodevelopment in middle childhood. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 75, 56-63.