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Tracy L. Bale headshot image

Tracy L. Bale, PhD

Tracy L. Bale, Ph.D., Center Director

As the Director of CERCH, Dr. Bale is orchestrating the Center’s mission toward building collaborative translational research. She is an expert in epigenetic research, focusing on the periods of vulnerability in neurodevelopment and maturation in which perturbations, such as stress, in the environment can alter somatic and germ cells to promote disease risk or resilience. Dr. Bale has been studying epigenetic mechanisms in neuroscience for over 15 years. Her lab has developed mouse models of maternal and paternal stress that produce offspring with sex-specific changes in stress reactivity and metabolic pathways. Her lab utilizes cutting-edge molecular, biochemical, physiological, and behavioral methods to identify novel mechanisms involved in offspring programming. Her research expertise crosses many fields, including neuroscience, reproduction, development and endocrinology, and encompasses mouse models and building translational programs as well. As a UMB STRAP recruit, Dr. Bale has expertise and success in NIH grant submission and funding and has established an internationally recognized and rigorous research program. She has held leadership positions as a Co-Director of a SCOR P50 Center, Research Director for the BIRCWH faculty training grant, Chair of NIH study section, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for 4 national Centers and the Max Planck Psychiatry Institute, and the Academy of Sciences Congressional Committee for Gulf War Veterans. 


Rebecca Vivrette Headshot Image

Rebecca Vivrette, Ph.D., Associate Director of Clinical Research

Dr. Vivrette is an applied clinical researcher and licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in parent-child mental health, child development, and psychological trauma in underserved populations. She is trained in numerous evidence-based practices for assessing and treating traumatic stress in families and has in-depth knowledge of local community systems and resources for conducting community-based research.  Dr. Vivrette supports the translational research focus of the Center by providing expertise in clinical research development and selection of clinical outcomes.


Kathleen Morrison PhD Headshot

Kathleen Morrison, Ph.D., Associate Director of Translational Research

Dr. Morrison facilitates collaboration between basic and clinical researchers. She is an expert in neuroscience with a focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of experience-dependent resilience and vulnerability to adverse life experiences. Her research provides mechanistic insight into the complex question of why some individuals are negatively impacted by stress while others remain resilient. Through successful collaborations with clinicians, Dr. Morrison established a novel, clinically-relevant mouse model examining the effect of stress during the onset of puberty on adult affective and cognitive outcomes.


Christopher Morgan PhD Headshot Image

Christopher Morgan, Ph.D., Associate Director of Epigenetic Research

Dr. Morgan’s consultats with researchers developing studies on epigenetic mechanisms in inter- and transgenerational transmission in animal models and human cohorts. Dr. Morgan is an expert in miRNA biology, having adapted novel high-throughput strategies to characterize the miRNA-target mRNA interactome of the neonatal brain, and in characterizing and directly manipulating epigenetic programming at diverse stages of development. In addition, Dr. Morgan was a past member of the NIDDK intramural IRB and has reviewed numerous clinical research protocols, giving him advanced knowledge of complications that arise in translational study design. 

Jessica Fluharty Headshot Image

Jessica Fluharty, Associate Administrative Director

Ms. Fluharty assist PIs and trainees with grant applications and regulatory protocols, provide boilerplate details for regulatory compliance, identify opportunities for funding, and develop the structural support to facilitate the Center’s goal in forming collaborative translational research teams. Additionally, she manages the Center’s administrative functions, coordinating events and seminars, and overseeing the daily implementation of Center initiatives.

Eldin Jasarevic, Ph.D., Associate Director of Research Bioinformatics

Dr. Jasarevic’s has spearheaded the integration of multi-Omics platforms –16S rRNA marker gene sequencing, whole shotgun metagenomics sequencing, host transcriptomics, metabolomics, and proteomics – to identify novel mechanisms of neurodevelopment and disease risk across the lifespan. He has streamlined analysis of these platforms through the development of custom computational and bioinformatic pipelines that are adaptable to any experimental design employing a multi-Omic approach.