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Michael Santo Gaffrey

Assistant Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Psychology & Neuroscience
316A Soc Psych Bldg, Box 90086, Durham, NC 27708
316A Reuben-Cooke Building, Box 90086, Durham, NC 27705


Michael S. Gaffrey, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at Duke University in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. He is also Director of Duke’s Early Experience and the Developing Brain (DEED) lab. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental clinical and affective neuroscience at the Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Gaffrey has also completed advanced training in infant mental health practice and policy through the ZERO-TO-THREE Leadership Development Institute.

Dr. Gaffrey is firmly committed to studying, treating, and advocating for the health and well-being of vulnerable infants and young children. To this end, his research endeavors include the use of behavioral and neuroimaging methodologies to better understand biological pathways underlying risk and resilience to early life stress and related environmental challenges. He is also actively involved in using the tools of developmental neuroscience to better understand how preventive intervention programs targeting infants at risk for negative socioemotional outcomes, including depression and autism spectrum disorder, can be used more effectively. Through the integration of clinical practice and innovative research, Dr. Gaffrey hopes to reduce the impact of risk factors that contribute to unfavorable health outcomes for vulnerable infants and families. Furthermore, Dr. Gaffrey believes we can better foster healthy environments for growing children and ensure the well-being of all infants and families by bringing objective research and practice-based knowledge to policy and public arenas.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Assistant Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience · 2023 - Present Psychology & Neuroscience, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience · 2018 - Present Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences · 2018 - Present Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, University Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee · 2009 Ph.D.
San Diego State University · 2004 M.A.
University of Wisconsin, Madison · 1997 B.A.