Columbia University Medical Center


Frances Champagne, PhD

Frances Champagne, PhD
  • Department of Psychology (Columbia University)
  • Associate Professor of Psychology (Columbia University)

Dr. Champagne's current and ongoing research explores the impact of early life experiences on brain and behavior and the epigenetic mechanisms through which these effects are mediated. The interplay between genes and the environment is critical during the process of development and exploring the role of epigenetic mechanisms in linking experiences with developmental outcomes is an evolving field of study. Dr. Champagne uses rodent models to study epigenetics, neurobiology, and behavior and also collaborates with clinical researchers who would like to apply the study of epigenetics to better understand origins of variation in human behavior. In addition to investigating the modulating effects of mother-infant interactions, Dr. Champagne is currently exploring a broad array of social influences and environmental exposures. Dr. Champagne's research is funded by NIMH, NIEHS, and EPA and she is involved in a collaborative training grant at Columbia University on the social, ethical, and legal implications of genetics research. Dr. Champagne is also an instructor of a variety of undergraduate courses at Columbia University, including: "The Developing Brain", "Inheritance, "Neurobiology of Reproductive Behavior", and "Ethics, Genetics & the Brain".


2006 - 2011 - Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Columbia University

2004 - 2006 - Postdoctoral Fellowship, Animal Behavior, University of Cambridge (UK)

1996 - 1999 - M.Sc., Psychiatry, McGill University (Canada)

1991 - 1995 - B.A. (honors), Psychology, Queen's University (Canada)

Education & Training

  • BA, 1995 Psychology (Honors), Queens University
  • PhD, 2004 Neuroscience, McGill University, Canada
  • 2006 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Animal Behavior, University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
  • Lab Locations

    Schermerhorn Hall

    1190 Amsterdam Ave
    Room 315, Mail Code: 5501
    New York, NY 10027

    (212) 854-2589
    (212) 854-3609

    Lab Website

    Research Interests

    Behavioral Epigenetics
    Cognitive/Systems neuroscience

    Lab Members


    Braun K, Champagne FA (2014) Paternal influences on offspring development: behavioural and epigenetic pathways. J Neuroendocrinology 26(10), 697-706.

    Tang G, Gudsnuk K, Kuo SH, Cotrina M, Rosoklija G, Sosunov A, Sonders M, Kanter E, Castagna C, Yamamoto A, Yue Z, Arancio O, Peterson BS, Champagne FA, Dwork A, Goldman J, Sulzer D (2014) Loss of mTOR-dependent macroautophagy causes autistic-like  synaptic pruning deficits. Neuron 83(5), 1131-43.

    Franks B, Champagne FA, Higgins ET (2014) How enrichment affects exploration trade-offs in rats: Implications for welfare and well-being. PLoS One 8(12), e83578.

    Peña CJ, Neugut YD, Calarco CA, Champagne FA (2014) Effects of maternal care on the development of midbrain dopamine pathways and reward-directed behavior in female offspring. European Journal of Neuroscience 39(6), 946-56.

    Kundakovic M, Gudsnuk K, Franks B, Madrid J, Miller RL, Perera FP, Champagne FA (2013) Sex-specific epigenetic disruption and behavioral changes following low-dose in utero bisphenol A exposure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110(24):9956-61.

    Branchi I, Curley JP, D’Andrea I, Cirulli F, Champagne FA, Alleva E (2013) Early interactions with mother and peers independently build adult social skills and shape BDNF and oxytocin receptor brain levels. Psychoneuroendocrinology 38(4):522-32.

    Mashoodh R, Franks B, Curley JP, Champagne FA (2012) Paternal social enrichment effects on maternal behavior and offspring growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109 Suppl 2:17232-8.

    Jensen-Peña CL, Monk C, Champagne FA (2012) Epigenetic effects of prenatal stress on 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-2 in the placenta and fetal brain. PLoS One 7(6):e39791.