Meghan Swanson

Assistant Professor - Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Tags: autism children infant language development Brain Imaging center for children and families caregiver speech

Professional Preparation

Postdoc - Developmental Disabilities
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - 2018
PhD - Behavioral Neuroscience
City University of New York - 2012

Research Areas

The Baby Brain Lab is part of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Investigators in the lab are infinitely curious about the infant brain. We want to understand how the infant brain develops and what influences very early development. We believe that by understanding these relationships we can support parents by providing them with effective tools that foster child development. The Baby Brain Lab is directed by Meghan Swanson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences.


Caregiver Speech and Infant Brain Development Study
The Baby Brain Lab is currently conducting a NIH-funded study on caregiver speech and infant brain development. We are interested in how parents and their infants communicate, and how this communication supports infant brain and cognitive development. For this study we are recruiting families of typically developing infants from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area to join the longitudinal study. Families will complete home language samples, and infants will participate in lab assessments and MRI brain scans.
The Infant Brain Imaging Study
The Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) is a multi-site longitudinal prospective study of infants at high and low familial risk for autism that is led by Joseph Piven at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. IBIS has been funded with a NIH Autism Network for Excellence grant since 2007 (PI Piven R01HD055741). The IBIS Network includes five clinical data collection sites (UNC, CHOP, UW, Wash U, and UMN), a data coordinating center at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and investigators at many other universities.

To date, nearly 1,000 infants have participated in the study, including  both infants with an older sibling with autism spectrum disorder (high-risk infants) and infants with a typically developing older sibling (low-risk infants). About 20% of high-risk infants go on to have ASD themselves, meaning this project allows for the study of autism in the first years of life, before a diagnosis is available. All infants in the study participate in serial MRI brain scans and comprehensive behavioral, cognitive, and clinical assessments.  The IBIS Network is currently conducting IBIS-School Age, a study where all of our previous infant participants will come back for a school-age visit (PI Piven R01HD055741). The network was also recently funded to do another infant study (co-PIs Pruett & Piven, 1R01MH118362). For more information on the IBIS Study, information on participating in studies, and information on projects with infants and children with Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome go to