Why do some children struggle to learn to read, have difficulty with language, or experience challenges solving math problems, whereas other children develop these skills almost effortlessly? Why do some children demonstrate resilience despite environmental challenges whereas other children show difficulties despite significant levels of support? Dr. Petrill's research program addresses these questions by examining how genetics and the environment influence the development of the underlying cognitive skills related to reading, mathematics, and language. As described more fully in his lab webpage, he is currently conducting several federally-funded studies in this domain using quantitative genetic, molecular genetic, behavioral, cognitive, and neuroimaging perspectives. The goal of his work is to identify genetically and/or environmentally mediated biomarkers that help identify the varied pathways through which learning difficulties develop, with larger goal of developing biobehavioral models of prevention and remediation.
Stephen Petrill received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 1990, his Ph.D. in psychology from Case Western Reserve University in 1995, and completed postdoctoral studies at the Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre in London (UK) in 1997. Prior to arriving at Ohio State in 2006, Dr. Petrill held faculty appointments at Wesleyan University (1997-2001) and the Pennsylvania State University (2001-2006). He is associate editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, serves on the review boards of several journals, is the past chair of the Behavioral Genetic and Epidemiology Study Section at NIH, and is currently a member of the Basic Processes Review Panel at the Institute for Education Sciences.