Sharon Landesman Ramey

Sharon Landesman Ramey, Ph.D.

Research Professor and Distinguished Research Scholar, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Research Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Science

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, School of Medicine


Office phone: 540-526-2081

Office location: R2012

Email address:

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My research addresses three major areas of human development: (1) the contribution of early experience, starting even prior to conception and extending through the prenatal and early postnatal periods, to later health, social-emotional, and intellectual development (including the fields of behavioral teratology and early intervention research); (2) the development and testing of highly promising treatments for children with disabilities and at-risk conditions; and (3) how to improve the provision of health, education, and social services and strengthen natural community supports, to benefit children and families—the intersection between the new field of implementation science and public policy/public opinion.

I also have a longstanding interest in improving the rigor of social science tools; one area in which I have developed new tools concerns obtaining reliable and valid reports of young children’s subjective appraisals of their families, their schools, and their peers. I am interested in how these personal experiences (phenomenology) change over time and influence multiple decisions, behavior, and health (physical, mental, and social).

My current areas of funded research include: (i) interventions and statewide pre-kindergarten programs to improve teacher and child caregiver effectiveness in increasing young children’s school success; (ii) the role of maternal stress in altering maternal allostatic load, pregnancy outcome, and child outcomes, particularly among low-income, minority populations; (iii) strategies to reduce maternal, paternal, and child health disparities; (iv) pediatric neuromotor interventions for children with cerebral palsy; and (v) innovative, cross-study, longitudinal data analyses to identify common principles of human development as moderated by age, gender, context, and the availability of “responsive, individualized, and stimulating care and education.”

In addition, I am part of the multidisciplinary team at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute that has launched the Roanoke Brain Study under the direction of Dr. Read Montague. The Roanoke Brain Study is elucidating decision-making across the life course—childhood through old age, including exploring inter-generational influences and dynamic relationships among life experiences, health, education, income, and individual biological differences (using an epigenetics systems framework).

A brochure for the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Neuromotor Research Clinic that I direct, along with Dr. Stephanie DeLuca, is available here.

For a more complete listing of Sharon Landesman Ramey's publications, visit PubMed.

Education and Training

  • University of Washington Seattle: Postdoctoral fellowship
  • University of Washington Seattle: PhD , Developmental Psychology
  • New College, Sarasota: BA , Psychology and Comparative Physiology

Previous Positions

  • Georgetown University Susan H. Mayer Professor of Child and Family Studies, School of Nursing and Health Studies Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine Director, Center on Health and Education Director, The Science of Effective Early Childhood Education Program
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Co-Director, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Center
    Founding Director, Civitan International Research Center
    Director, The Alabama University Affiliated Program in Developmental Disabilities
    Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, Psychology, Pediatrics, Sociology, Nursing, Maternal and Child Health, and Neurobiology
    Director, Developmental Disabilities Prevention Research Center
    Co-Director, Developmental Psychology Ph.D. Program

Awards and Honors

  • Timeless Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, 2012
  • Scholar of the Week, Virginia Tech, 2012
  • Research Achievement Award, Georgetown University Medical Center, 2008
  • University of Washington Distinguished Alumna Award, Natural Sciences, 2007
  • Distinguished Research Contributions to Public Policy, Society for Research in Child Development, 2007

Selected Publications

Luo Y, Hétu S, Lohrenz T, Hula A, Dayan P, Ramey SL, Sonnier-Netto L, Lisinski J, LaConte S, Nolte T, Fonagy P, Rahmani E, Montague PR, Ramey C. (2018). Early childhood investment impacts social decision-making four decades later. Nature Communications 9(1): 4705.

Guardino CM, Hobel CJ, Shalowitz MU, Ramey SL, Dunkel Schetter C, Community Child Health Network. (2018). Psychosocial and demographic predictors of postpartum physical activity. Journal of Behavioral Medicine : 1-12.

Schiariti V, Fowler E, Bradenburg JE, Levey E, McIntyre S, Sukal-Moulton T, Ramey SL, Rose J, Sienko S, Stashinko E, Vogtle L, Feldman RS, Koenig J, On behalf of the AACPDM Cerebral Palsy CDE Workding Groups. (2018). A common data language for clinical research studies: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine Cerebral Palsy Common Data Elements Version 1.0 recommendations. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology .