School of Medicine
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Sara L. (Sally) Tobin
Sr Research Scholar, Pediatrics - Center for Biomedical Ethics
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Tobin is a Senior Research Scholar at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. She obtained her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from the University of Washington and did postdoctoral research in Genetics at the University of California, Berkeley and in Biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. She became a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1983 and moved to Stanford University in 1996. Her research contributions have been published in prestigious journals such as Cell, Nature, Genes & Development, Neuron, and Journal of Cell Biology.
With her collaborator, graphic designer Ann Boughton, Tobin has completed the production of three educational multimedia CD-ROM discs about the genetic revolution in medical care sparked by the rapid advances in our knowledge about the human genome. An on-line version derived and updated from these CDs is pending release through Twisted Ladder Media, and is entitled: "The New Genetics: Medicine and the Human Genome. Molecular Concepts, Applications, and Ramifications." In addition, Tobin and Boughton have collaborated on educational websites on inherited risk of breast cancer and on hereditary colorectal cancer with the Stanford Cancer Genetics Clinic.
Tobin's current major research interests include an educational project funded by the National Science Foundation to create and evaluate innovative modules for undergraduates entitled, "The New Genetics: Electronic Tools for Educational Innovation." The modules are presented in on-line form as an electronic course and are accompanied by workbook exercises and problem sets. The content includes principles of genetics, molecular genetic technologies, applications in medicine, environmental biology, agriculture, and society, as well as implications. In addition, she is collaborating on two projects that are exploring the ramifications of using genetic information about addiction risk in the judicial system.
Tobin is a member of the Benchside Consultation Team for the Center for the Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics, and she evaluates clinical protocols for ethical issues for the Clinical Translational Research Program.
Instructor, Pediatrics - Neonatal and Developmental Medicine
Bio I began working at Stanford after obtaining my PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego in 2011. My doctoral research investigated the neuroanatomical and neurophysiological correlates of word understanding abilities in healthy 1-2 year old infants, bilingual and hearing impaired adults. I am experienced using a range of human neuroimaging techniques including magneto and electro-encephalography as well as structural MRI techniques, including diffusion and quantitative MRI in pediatric populations.
I am most interested in studying the neural bases of language and reading skills in young children. Presently, I am applying advanced neuroimaging techniques, including diffusion and quantitative MRI, to examine how white matter structures of the brain contribute to reading and language skills in both healthy children and children born pre-term. Understanding both the neural and behavioral factors underlying these skills will help to identify children who are at greatest risk for learning difficulties. In later stages of this research, I will assist in developing and assessing interventional strategies for improving reading abilities in children at risk for delays.