2014-2015 APS Mentor Award

Megan R. Gunnar

University of Minnesota

APS Fellow Megan R. Gunnar is an expert on stress and emotion regulation in children and adolescents. She has achieved unparalleled insight into social development, neurobiology, and stress in both humans and animals. Over her career, Gunnar has produced not only a large body of developmental psychology research, but also, in the words of her nominator and mentee Nim Tottenham of the University of California, Los Angeles, “a new generation of scientists focused on understanding the role of early adverse environments on human psychobiological development.”

Former students credit Gunnar’s guidance for their success publishing research in top-tier journals and obtaining research funding from the National Institutes of Health; the US Department of Health and Human Services; the Grant, Spencer, and Sloan Foundations; and other prestigious sources. She has mentored researchers at all career stages — from undergraduates through faculty members at top universities. As a long-term, committed supporter of her students, Gunnar has personally funded research projects and research-related travel and offers valued advice on balancing academic and personal responsibilities. She is also well-known for providing timely, creative feedback and advice on manuscripts and research proposals.

For her mentees, Gunnar has also modeled a collaborative and cooperative approach to science. Tottenham recalls one meeting at which lab members received news that scientists at a different lab had published material Gunnar’s team had hoped to publish first. Instead of disappointment, Gunnar showed genuine excitement about the overlap in the two teams’ results — a gesture that impressed her students and informed their own attitudes toward research.