Department: Kinesiology, Harlow Primate Lab
Institution: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mailing Address: 2120 Medical Sciences Center, 1300 University Ave, Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 265-5118
Mary L. Schneider, Ph.D., is a recognized authority on typical and atypical neurobehavioral development of rhesus monkeys. She is particularly well known for her recent landmark finding on the neurobehavioral effects of moderate alcohol exposure in utero and prenatal stress. She also utilizes neuroimaging techniques and prepulse inhibition to investigate the underlying neural mechanisms of fetal alcohol effects, prenatal stress-induced impairments, and sensory regulation disorder. Her focus is on the roles of dopaminergic and serotoninertic systems in these disorders.
Dr. Schneider holds degrees in Developmental Psychology and Occupational Therapy. Her work combines behavioral observations with PET measures of neurotransmitter function. The behavioral methods she uses include assessment of neonatal neurobehavior of typical and atypical monkeys, biological assessment of hormones associated with the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis function at baseline and in response to stressful events, and cognitive tests, such as non-match-to-sample, concurrent object discrimination, reversal learning, and executive function assessment. She also assesses sensorimotor gating in a test of prepulse inhibition using an apparatus that her research team recently developed for rhesus monkeys. In addition to her studies with primate models, Dr. Schneider also has extensive experience as a clinical occupational therapist, providing consultation, assessment, and direct treatment to children and their families with attention deficit disorders, learning disabilities, fetal alcohol syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorders.