St. Louis COVGEN Team

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Chris Smyser, MD

Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, 

Washington University in St. Louis

Cynthia Rogers, MD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Child), 

Washington University in St. Louis

Tara Smyser, MS

Staff Scientist, Department of Psychiatry, 

Washington University in St. Louis

Our Hub

As an established research group in the domain of maternal and neonatal health, our researchers are well suited to join this exploration into COVID-19's effects on pregnant and postpartum mothers and their infants. Our research focuses on under-insured participants and investigates the effects of many factors, including socioeconomic inequalities, social support, drug use, and life stress on maternal perinatal mental health, infant brain development, and infant socio-emotional outcomes. As the urban population of St. Louis is predominantly African-American with higher rates of poverty than the wider St. Louis metropolitan area, and because COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on African-American communities, our lab has seen the effects of COVID-19 on our participants and city first-hand. In our work we hope to identify factors affecting maternal perinatal mental health and infant health and development in order to design targeted interventions and improve outcomes for all parents and infants. 

Funding Sources:

  • NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

  • Children's Discovery Institute

  • Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Center

  • McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience

  • NIH, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

  • National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia & Depression

  • NIH, National Institutes of Health