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Lisa Parr, PhD

Yerkes Researcher

Phone: 404-727-3653

Fax: 404-727-8324

Email: lparr@emory.edu

Lab Web Site:

Biography

Lisa Parr, PhD, completed her undergraduate studies at Beloit College before receiving her master’s degree and doctorate from Emory University.

During the initial 10 years of her career, Dr. Parr studied comparative social cognition in monkeys and apes, particularly the way in which chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys gain information about identity and expression from faces. During the last few years, she has expanded her research program in a more translational direction to understand the basic behavior, neurobiology and development of social behavior in monkeys as a model for understanding social impairments in humans. Dr. Parr’s lab now has two main directions:

1)    Learning how oxytocin (OT) modulates the salience of social stimuli and their rewarding quality in adult monkeys. She and her team have developed a novel procedure for administering OT to awake monkeys using an intranasal delivery method that successfully penetrates the central nervous system. The team is developing a variety of interactive computerized tasks to test how these compounds affect social information processing.

2)    Identifying patterns of social perceptual development in infant rhesus monkeys from birth through 6 months of age with the goal of mapping the normative developmental trajectory for the development of social attention. Dr. Parr’s research team has developed an innovative eye-tracking laboratory at the Yerkes Field Station to track social perception in infant monkeys. Team members will correlate these behavioral data with developmental changes in functional brain networks using resting state functional connectivity MRI.

As an extension of this work, the Parr lab is combining these two approaches to monitor the effects of chronic and repeated intranasal OT on the development of social attention in infant monkeys longitudinally through the first year of life. The team will use functional neuroimaging to address whether this administration procedure produces long-lasting changes in the development of functional brain networks.

The long-term goals of the Parr lab are to produce highly translational research focused on understanding the neurobiology of social impairments and to be a part of developing possible treatments for social impairments using a highly relevant, developmental animal model. 

Publications

View publications on PubMed