Hall recipient of early career professorship award

Molly Hall, assistant professor of veterinary and biomedical studies at Penn State, was recently named recipient of the Dr. Frances Keesler Graham Early Career Professorship.

Hall was awarded the Graham Professorship by the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) for her work on identifying the complex genetic and environmental factors that affect developmental and health outcomes.

“The early career professorship will allow me to examine the physiological processes linking child maltreatment to neural developmental outcomes across childhood and into adolescence,” said Hall. “It is a tremendous opportunity to push the field of child maltreatment forward in an innovative direction.”

Currently, Hall is collaborating with Jennie Noll, director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network and professor of human development and family studies, utilizing data being collected from the Child Health Study. Hall is also working with Lisa Gatzke-Kopp, professor of human development and family studies, in leveraging data from the Family Life Project to investigate the effects of the early life exposures on stress responses from childhood through adolescence.

Hall received her B.S. in human development from Cornell University, M.S. in neuroscience and education from Columbia University, and Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Penn State, and then completed postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hall’s interest in developmental research stems from her time teaching middle school science in New York City through Teach For America. During her doctoral training, Hall developed analytic methods that integrated diverse types of big data to predict disease; her current work focuses on the role of the metabolome in human health and development.  She has been a Penn State faculty member since 2017 and is an affiliate of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State.

The Dr. Frances Keesler Graham Early Career Professorship provides supplemental funding to faculty members working in developmental neuroscience. The award rotates every three years to a new recipient in the first 10 years of her or his academic career, providing seed money for innovative research projects.

The professorship was created by Graham’s daughter, Mary Graham, as a way to honor her late mother, who began her career in social and behavioral sciences as a Penn State undergraduate.

More information on the professorship award, including the application process, can be found at SSRI’s professorship website.