Martha Welch

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Departments of Pediatrics and Pathology & Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center

Director of the Nurture Science Program in Pediatrics

Director of the BrainGut Initiative in Developmental Neuroscience

Dr. Welch is Director of the Nurture Science Program in Pediatrics and Director of the BrainGut Initiative in Developmental Neuroscience. She is appointed Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Departments of Pediatrics and Pathology & Cell Biology at Columbia University Medical Center. She has been a pioneer in the treatment of emotional, behavioral and developmental disorders for more than 40 years. Her clinical insights have led her to challenge some of the longest-held assumptions and beliefs in science and society about the origin and control of behavior and emotions. Dr. Welch leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers that is providing a new scientific understanding of the biological underpinnings of family nurture. Dr. Welch’s revolutionary Calming Cycle theory posits that emotions arise from bodily-based co-conditioning mechanisms in mother and infant/child. The theory proposes that states of emotional dysregulation stem from the lack of co-regulation and can be counter-conditioned through regular mother/child calming sessions. Accordingly, symptomatic behavior can be eliminated through establishing and maintaining a co-regulatory process within the family nurture system at home. This hypothesis contradicts the prevailing theories that propose that emotional states are best ameliorated by helping a child to self-regulate. Among basic research findings, Dr, Welch’s lab discovered the oxytocin receptor in the epithelium and enteric nervous system of the gut and showed that a combination of nurture peptides treat an animal model of colitis.

Participant In:

Autism and the Mind/Brain

Saturday, November 5, 2016
2:30-4:30 pm

Past Event

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects more than 1% of the population. For many years, it was thought to be a rare disorder, resulting from a bad relationship of the children with their so-called refrigerator mothers. However, there is clear evidence now that autism results from abnormalities in brain development, and that the behavior… read more »