Dr. Drury explores the interaction of genetic and epigenetic factors with early experience and how this interaction shapes neurodevelopment and long-term outcomes in children. Her clinical and translational research focuses on improving outcomes in at-risk children by providing an enhanced understanding of the interaction between early life experiences, the stress response systems, and neurodevelopment.
She is the director of the Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Laboratory (BANGL). The laboratory includes both a molecular genetics basic science "wet" laboratory and translational studies exploring the impact of early life stress on neurocognitive function and the stress response system in collaboration with both the Department of Pediatrics (Kanter) and the Department of Community Health Science (Theall). Current ongoing NIH- funded research projects include studies examining the association between telomere length and other epigenetic markers and neurodevelopment in a longitudinal study of children with a history of institutional care. She is also exploring, in collaboration with the Department of Community Health Sciences the use of telomere length as a marker of the cumulative exposure to early adversity in community recruited children. The overall goal of her research is to understand how early life stress and adversity "gets under the skin" and alters neurodevelopmental trajectories creating a lasting vulnerability to a range of psychological and medical negative health outcomes.
Research positions and rotations for graduate and undergraduate students are currently available. If interested please contact Dr. Drury.