Dr. Karlen Lyons-Ruth

Dr. Karlen Lyons-Ruth

Karlen Lyons-Ruth, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Harvard Medical School
Director, CHA Family Studies Lab


Cambridge Hospital
1493 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Email:  klruth@hms.harvard.edu
Phone:  (617) 547-3116
Fax:  (617) 503-8470

Dr. Lyons-Ruth is Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, a clinical supervisor for the Cambridge Health Alliance Psychology and Psychiatry training programs, and a faculty member for the Child Psychiatry Core Seminar for MGH/McLean, Children’s Hospital, and Cambridge Health Alliance fellows. She was a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Duke University and received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from Harvard University. She also completed a clinical internship at McLean Hospital and a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Child Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine.

Following her training, her research has focused on the assessment of attachment relationships in high-risk environments over the infancy, childhood, and adolescent periods, as well as the influence of early caregiving risk factors on infant stress regulation and brain development. Her work has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Borderline Foundation, the Mailman Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, the Mental Wellness Foundation, and a Harvard Catalyst Grant. Several attachment-focused assessments developed in her lab are now being disseminated internationally, including the AMBIANCE scales for atypical parent-infant interaction and the RISE scale for infant indiscriminate behavior. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a former Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, and has served on the Boards of the World Association for Infant Mental Health and the Massachusetts Association for Infant Mental Health. She has also served on the editorial boards of Child Development, Developmental Psychology, the Infant Mental Health Journal, and Attachment and Human Development. She is the author of more than 150 articles and book chapters on infant disorganized attachment, infant brain development, maternal depression, and predictors of impulsive self-damaging behavior in adolescence. Under current NICHD funding, her lab is assessing the intergenerational effects of maternal childhood maltreatment on infant stress neurobiology during the first two years of life.

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