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Lia Ahonen, PhD

Dr. Ahonen is assistant professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, PA. Trained in Criminology and Psychology, her research areas include youth and adult crime in combination with mental illness, predictors of violence and gun violence, the development of violent crime over time, the treatment of serious behavioral problems, and policy issues pertaining to crime and justice in different countries. Dr Ahonen is the Co-PI for the ABCD Social Development Study, investigating brain development and its associations to delinquent behavior and victimization. Her areas of expertise also include organizational development and leadership in institutions providing treatment and services to primarily delinquent youth.

Dr Ahonen has a particular interest in bridging the gap between neurobiological science and behavioral science, and more specifically, criminology.

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Beatriz Luna, PhD

Dr. Luna is the Staunton Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the founder and Director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive Development, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, and the founder and president of the Flux Society for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Her research uses multimodal neuroimaging methods as well as cognitive testing to understand the brain mechanisms underlying development through adolescence when adult trajectories are defined. Her findings have led to influential developmental models emphasizing the implications of specialization of different brain systems through adolescence informing normative and impaired development.

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Edward Mulvey, PhD

Dr. Mulvey is a professor of psychiatry and Director of the Law and Psychiatry Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he has been on the faculty since 1983. He has directed numerous funded research studies on the link between mental illness and violence, the development of juveniles in the justice system, and the impact of sanctions and interventions for young people who have committed serious crimes. He also works with practitioners and policy makers on the provision of services to individuals at risk for involvement in violence. Dr. Mulvey currently serves on the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Committee and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and is the Criminal Justice System Coordinator for Allegheny County.


Daniel Shaw, PhD

Dr. Shaw is the Director of the Center for Parents and Children and the Pitt Parents and Children Laboratory. He also serves as Distinguished Professor in Pitt’s Department of Psychology. His primary research interest has been studying the development and prevention of early problem behavior among at-risk children. He currently leads or co-directs three NIH-funded, longitudinal studies investigating the early antecedents and prevention of childhood conduct problems and substance use. He is also co-leading a large-scale implementation study employing a tiered intervention model involving 8,000 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers entitled The Pittsburgh Study. Dr. Shaw has authored more than 300 publications on risk factors associated with the development and prevention of conduct problems from early childhood through adolescence.

Did their brains make them do it?  A discussion

about a neurobiological basis for violence

Our guest speakers will be joined by Pitt neuroscientists for this session.

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