Elinor L. Sullivan, Ph.D. (she/her)

  • Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine
  • Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine


Dr. Sullivan received her Ph.D. in Physiology from OHSU in 2006 and her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Willamette University. She received her postdoctoral training at the University of California San Francisco and OHSU. Dr. Sullivan is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Sullivan is actively involved in training future scientists through her teaching and mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Sullivan’s research focuses on examining the influence of early environmental factors on child neurobehavioral regulation, with an emphasis on behaviors that relate to mental health and behavioral disorders including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.

Education and training

    • B.A., 2000, Willamette University
    • B.A., 2000, Willamette University
    • Ph.D., 2006, Oregon Health & Science University
    • Ph.D., 2006, Oregon Health & Science University

Areas of interest

  • Behavioral Regulation
  • Brain Development
  • Developmental Programming
  • Maternal Nutrition
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Serotonin

Honors and awards

  • May 2016 Outstanding Scholarship Award, University of Portland
  • November 2015 Authored manuscript “Maternal High-Fat Diet and Obesity Impact Palatable Food Intake and Dopamine Signaling in Nonhuman Primate Offspring” selected as one of the top four entries to be included in the Third Annual Obesity Journal Symposium.
  • January 2015 Provost’s Initiative for Undergraduate Research Award - ($1,000) University of Portland.
  • November 2014 The Impact of Maternal Diet on Offspring Behavioral Regulation, Butine, $1,166.00
  • May 2010 Award for Best Post-Doctoral Talk. Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.
  • July 2009 Pat Simons Travel Award Grant to attend the Annual Meeting of The Obesity Society. The Obesity Society.
  • October 2008 Travel Award to attend NIH’s Neuroimaging in Obesity Research Workshop. National Institute of Health
  • May 2008 Award for Top-Ranked Post-Doctoral Fellowship of 2007. Bay Area Division of the American Heart Association.
  • September 2006 Stipend support from Molecular Approaches to Mental Health Fellowship Program, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.
  • May 2006 Award for best poster presentation at the Student Research Forum, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.
  • April 2006 Travel award to attend Annual Meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Oregon Chapter of Society for Neuroscience.
  • November 2005 Nominated to the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Science Program for Excellence in Science.
  • May 2005 Stipend support from Reproductive Training Grant, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.
  • April 2004 Travel award to attend Annual Meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Oregon Chapter of Society for Neuroscience.


Selected publications

  • Sullivan EL, Holton KF, Barling AN, Sullivan CA, Nousen EK, Propper C, and Nigg JT. Early Identification of ADHD Risk via Infant Temperament and Emotional Regulation: A Pilot Study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2015 Sep;56(9):949-57. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12426. Epub 2015 May 12. PMID: 25968589.
  • Musser ED, Willoughby MT, Wright S, Sullivan EL, Stadler DD, Olson BF, Steiner RD, Nigg JT. Maternal prepregnancy body mass index and offspring attention-deifict/hyperactivity disorder: a quasi-experimental sibling-comparison, population-based design. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2017;58(3):240-247. PMCID: PMC5787386.
  • Gustafsson HC, Sullivan EL, Nousen EK, Sullivan CA, Huang E, Rincon M, Nigg JT, Loftis JM. Maternal Prenatal Depression Predicts Infant Negative Affect via Maternal Inflammatory Cytokine Levels, Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 2018 Jun 18. pii: S0889-1591(18)30227-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.06.011. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Gustafsson HC, Holton KF, Anderson AN, Nousen EK, Sullivan CA, Thompson JR, Fair DA, Loftis JM, Nigg JT, Sullivan EL. Increased maternal prenatal adiposity, inflammation, and lower Omega-3 fatty acid levels influence child negative affect. Front Neurosci. 2019;13:1035. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.01035. PMCID: PMC6779776.
  • Gustafsson HC, Sullivan EL, Battison EA, Holton KF, Graham AM, Karalunas SL, Fair DA, Loftis JM, Nigg JT. Evaluation of Maternal Inflammation as a Biomarker of Future Offspring ADHD Symptoms: A Prospective Investigation, Brain Behavior and Immunity, Available online 21 July 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.07.019. PMID: 32707260.
  • Kohlasch KL, Cioffredi LA, Lenninger C, Stewart E, Vatalaro T, Garavan H, Graham A, Heil SH, Krans EE, Robakis T, Rommel A, Sullivan EL, Thomason M, Potter A. Factors associated with parent views about participation in infant MRI research provide guidance for the design of the Healthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) stud
  • DiPietro J, Mackiewicz Seghete K, Krans E, Snider KD, Bower R, Parker K, Potter A, Garavan H, Vatalaro T*, Thomason M, Sullivan EL, Graham AM. Stakeholder perspectives on advancing understanding of prenatal opioid exposure and brain development from the iOPEN Consortium of the Healthy Brain and Child Development Study (HBCD). Frontiers in Psychology, 2021 Jul 30;12:698766.  doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.698766. eCollection 2021. PMID: 34393931, PMCID: PMC
  • Gustafsson HC, Young AS, Doyle O, Nagel BJ, Mackiewicz Seghete K, Nigg JT, Sullivan EL, Graham A. Trajectories of perinatal depressive symptoms in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Child Development, 92, e749–e763. doi: 10.1111/cdev.13656. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34448493.
  • Gustafsson HC, Nolvi S, Sullivan EL, Rasmussen J, Gyllenhammer LE, Entringer S, Wadhwa PD, O’Connor TG, Karlsson L, Karlsson H, Korja R, Buss C, Graham A M, & Nigg JT. Early Development of Negative and Positive Affect: Implications for ADHD Symptomatology Across Three Birth Cohorts. Development and Psychopathology, 1-12. doi:10.1017/S0954579421001012.
  • Gustafsson HC, Young, AS, Stamos G, Wilken S, Brito NH, Thomason ME, Graham A, Nigg JT, Sullivan, EL. Innovative Methods for Remote Assessment of Neurobehavioral Development. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 52, 2021, 101015, ISSN 1878-9293, doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2021.101015. PMID: 34601346.


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