Lauren McGrath

Assistant Professor

What I do

My work focuses on identifying cognitive risk and protective factors that are associated with learning and attention in children. The goal of our work is to develop a deeper understanding of learning that spans multiple levels of analysis (genetics, environment, brain, cognition, behavior) in order to improve early identification and intervention for children at risk for learning disorders.

Professional Biography

Lauren McGrath is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department and Director of the L.E.a.R.N. Lab (Learning Exceptionalities and Related Neuropsychology). With funding from NIH, Lauren’s research investigates risk and protective factors for developmental disorders, especially dyslexia and ADHD. The goal of our work is to develop a deeper understanding of learning that spans multiple levels of analysis (genetics, environment, brain, cognition, behavior) in order to improve early identification and intervention for children at risk for learning disorders. Central to our identity as a research lab is our shared commitment to advocating for equity and access to educational opportunities for individual with learning differences. My students and I are active in disseminating our work on dyslexia and ADHD to the community through partnerships with dyslexia advocacy groups and the Colorado Department of Education. Most recently, our work dispelling myths about “backwards reading” in dyslexia has been featured in several media outlets (NPR, Washington Post, Education Week, Psychology Today).

Lauren’s research on learning informs her identity as a teacher-scholar. She uses the cognitive science of learning to guide her course design and pedagogical approaches. Her research expertise is closely aligned with the graduate courses she teaches in Cognitive Assessment and Developmental Neuropsychology and the undergraduate courses in Research Methods. As a clinical scientist, Lauren promotes the integration of evidence-based practices for children with learning and attention challenges into the clinical training of graduate students in the Developmental Neuropsychology Clinic and the Center for Child and Family Psychology in the Psychology Department.

Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Child Clinical Psychology, University of Denver, 2009
  • MA, Child Clinical Psychology, University of Denver, 2005
  • BS, Neuroscience, Brandeis University, 2001

Research

Our work focuses on identifying cognitive, genetic, and environmental risk factors for learning and attentional challenges in children. We take a cross-disciplinary approach to our research questions, integrating perspectives and methods from neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, child clinical psychology, behavior genetics, and special education. The goal of our work is to develop a deeper understanding of learning that spans multiple levels of analysis (genetics, environment, brain, cognition, behavior) in order to improve early identification and intervention for children.

Key Projects

  • Differential Diagnosis in Learning Disabilities
  • Differential Diagnosis in Learning Disabilities
  • Cognitive and neural predictors of comorbidity between reading and attention problems

Featured Publications

McGrath, L. M. (2018). Two GWASs Are Better Than One: Enhancing Genetic Discovery for Developmental Phenotypes. Journal of the American Academy of Child \& Adolescent Psychiatry, 57(2), 77--79.
Pennington, B. F., McGrath, L. M., & Peterson, R. L. (2019). Diagnosing Learning Disorders 3rd Edition: From Science to Practice (p. 800 manuscript pages). New York, New York, USA: Guilford Press.
McGrath, L. M., Pennington, B. F., Shanahan, M. A., Santerre-Lemmon, L. E., Barnard, H. D., Willcutt, E. G., et al. (2011). A multiple deficit model of reading disability and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: searching for shared cognitive deficits. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 52(5), 547-57.
McGrath, L. M., Braaten, E. B., Doty, N. D., Willoughby, B. L., Wilson, H. K., O'Donnell, E. H., et al. (2016). Extending the 'cross-disorder' relevance of executive functions to dimensional neuropsychiatric traits in youth. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 57(4), 462-71.
Macdonald, K., Germine, L., Anderson, A., Christodoulou, J., & McGrath, L. M. (2017). Dispelling the myth: Training in education or neuroscience decreases but does not eliminate beliefs in neuromyths. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1314.

Presentations

McGrath, L. M. (2019). Processing Speed and Executive Functions: Same or Different? . Society for Research in Child Development. Baltimore, MD.
Slomowitz, R., & McGrath, L. M. (2019). Cognitive Resilience in Dyslexia: In Search of Protective and Promotive Factors. . Society for Research in Child Development. Baltimore, MD.
McGrath, L. M. (2017). Developing new phenotypes for reading disability genetics using comorbidity patterns. Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading. Halifax, Nova Scotia.