Staci Bilbo returning to Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Staci Bilbo

The Department of Psychology & Neuroscience is happy to announce that Professor Staci Bilbo will be returning to the department as the Haley Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, in conjunction with the Bass Connections Brain & Society theme, on July 1, 2019. Previously she was the Lurie Family Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, and the Director of Research for the Lurie Center for Autism, from July 2016 to June 2019.

The broad goal of Dr. Bilbo’s research is to understand the important role of the immune system during brain development, and how influences during this critical period can shape health throughout the lifespan. Current research seeks to understand the consequences of early life events, including infection, social and environmental toxins, drugs of abuse, and others, on neural-glial, gut-brain, and immune system development, and the consequences for health throughout the lifespan. A particular focus of the work is on the resident immune cells of the brain, microglia, including their development and function in response to early life inflammatory signals, neural-glial interactions, and their role in shaping neural circuits.  
"I am thrilled to be returning to Duke," Bilbo said. "My experiences at Harvard, and previous to that, as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge, have been enriching, informative, and rewarding.  Ultimately, it is the extraordinary community at Duke that is pulling me back, and the ability to integrate basic research with the broader landscape of the university and the wonderful city of Durham. The simple goal of my research is to look 'beyond the brain' in the understanding of mental health, and to highlight the earliest part of the lifespan as critical. In this context, we seek to model current social and environmental issues (e.g. poverty, pollution, addiction) that impact the developing brain, and thereby how these factors may eventually be mitigated. The broader goal of my research program and my position within the University landscape will be to impact, inform, and interface with society in meaningful ways, to the best of my ability, via education, outreach, and social awareness. I strongly believe that Duke is the best place to do this work.”