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Kujawa receives Award for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychophysiology

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Autumn Kujawa, assistant professor of psychology and human development

Autumn Kujawa, assistant professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development, has won the 2023 Award for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychophysiology from the Society for Psychophysiological Research, an international scientific society.

According to the SPR, “The Early Career Award is given to a member of SPR who has made noteworthy contributions to the field of psychophysiology. The period of eligibility is 8 years following completion of doctoral training.”

SPR’s announcement notes Kujawa’s contributions to clinical cognitive neuroscience, stating, “Her research has contributed to a novel account of blunted reward and affect processing in developmentally vulnerable children. By considering social context and affect-focused moderation, Dr. Kujawa blends clinical, social, and cognitive neuroscience measures to improve treatment and prevention of psychiatric distress.”

“I am thrilled to receive this award from SPR and grateful for the support I have received for my program of research at Vanderbilt as well as for my graduate students and other lab members who have contributed to this work,” Kujawa said.

Kujawa directs the Mood, Emotion, and Development Laboratory at Peabody College, which aims to produce high-quality translational research that reduces the burden of mood disorders on children, adolescents, parents, and families. Kujawa uses a multi-method approach to investigate how children and adolescents process and respond to emotion, as well as how changes in emotional processing contribute to the development of mood disorders.

Kujawa recently received a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Young Investigator Grant for a study to identify biomarkers associated with suicidal behavior in adolescents. Notably, this study is the first to examine the use of neural markers as possible predictors of future suicidal behavior, which could help to detect adolescents at greatest risk for suicide, as well as lead to new targets for treating suicidal behavior.

In addition to receiving the SPR’s early career award, Kujawa received a Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science in 2017. She was also named the Katherine Deschner Family Investigator by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in 2019.