Tania L. Roth, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences
at the University of Delaware, has been selected by the University’s
Francis Alison Society to receive the 2015 Gerard J. Mangone Young
The award recognizes promising and accomplished young faculty. The
recipient is chosen by fellow faculty members who have received the
Francis Alison Award, the University’s highest competitive faculty
Roth is described as “a prolific and gifted young scientist and
scholar whose work has already changed the history of the diverse fields
that she serves,” in a letter to the Alison Society from Robert F.
Simons, professor and chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain
Sciences, and Mark E. Stanton, professor and director of the
department’s behavioral neuroscience program.
The letter summarizes her “exceptional scholarship and productivity”
beginning as a graduate student when she was lead author of a chapter in
a prestigious book series, Advances in the Study of Behavior.
Roth, a behavioral neuroscientist, studies what happens to the brain
when stress occurs early in life, exploring how that experience can
cause molecular changes to DNA. She works in the area of behavioral
epigenetics, or the study of specific molecular modifications that
change gene expression and produce short- and long-term effects on
physiology and behavior.
Using a rodent model, Roth studies the mother-infant interaction and
effects of maternal maltreatment, investigating the relationship between
environmental experiences and lifelong patterns of gene expression and
She has investigated the neurobehavioral basis of infant attachment
to an abusive caregiver and has been part of a national consortium of
researchers seeking to better understand posttraumatic stress disorder.
In 2010, Roth was first author on important publications in the new
field of behavioral epigenetics and found that adverse maternal care
alters the expression of a gene that plays a key role in brain
“This discovery, and Tania’s extensions of it in her laboratory here
at the University of Delaware, represents a historical turning point in
her field,” Simons and Stanton wrote, calling it “an exceptional
achievement.” They also cited her enthusiasm and effectiveness as a
teacher and laboratory mentor for numerous undergraduate and graduate
Roth has participated in brain awareness events and given lectures
across the United States. Her work has been featured in numerous media
outlets including The Scientist, Psychiatric News, Nature News Feature and Science magazine.
Earlier this year, she received an Early Career Impact Award from the
Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS)
Foundation, after a nomination by the International Society for
She was selected as a recipient in recognition of her “major research
contributions to the sciences of mind, brain and behavior,” FABBS said.
About the award
The Mangone Young Scholars Award is named in honor of the late Gerard
J. Mangone, who joined the UD faculty in 1972 and created the UD Center
for the Study of Marine Policy, renamed in his honor in 2003.
Dr. Mangone, University Research Professor in the College of Earth,
Ocean and Environment, received the Francis Alison Award in 1983. In
2010, he received an honorary degree from UD. He died on July 27, 2011.