Olena Zyga, Ph.D.
Years in Lab: 2019-present
I joined the Parker lab in 2019 under an NIH T32 training grant to better understand the intersection of behavioral and biological factors that may impact functioning in individuals with disrupted social and cognitive ability. I completed my B.A. in Psychology and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, and went on to obtain my M.A. in Clinical Child Psychology and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology through Case Western Reserve University under the mentorship of Drs. Anastasia Dimitropoulos and Sandra Russ. During my graduate training, I pursued two core lines of research. The first included characterization of early social cognitive ability and parent-child interaction through the use of behavioral and biological measures across typical and atypical development. The second line of research focused on using this knowledge to develop novel ways of intervening with patient populations that experience deficits in these areas, such as Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I extended this work in my dissertation research, in which I investigated the relationship between oxytocin concentrations, social cognition, and parent-child interaction quality in preschoolers with ASD. I further sought to understand the impact of a telehealth parent training intervention on oxytocin concentrations from pre to post intervention. My postdoctoral research continues to delineate the connection between neuropeptide biology and impacted social and cognitive ability, and to help determine how this information can be used to positively influence functioning.