Skip to main content

Hawley Montgomery-Downs, PhD

Associate Professor

Dr. Montgomery-Downs is an Associate Professor of Psychology, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and a member of the Centers for Neuroscience. She serves as the coordinator for the PhD program in Behavioral Neuroscience.


Psychology; Pediatrics (adjunct); Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute 

Graduate Training

University of Connecticut, Developmental Psychobiology, 2001


University of Louisville, Pediatric Sleep Medicine, 2005

Lab website:

Research Interests

Dr. Montgomery-Downs conducts research on sleep and sleep disorders and directs the Sleep Research Laboratory. Her current research focus is on the effects of infant feeding methods on development of pediatric sleep-disordered breathing, the impact of postpartum sleep deprivation and fragmentation on maternal functioning, and the long-term maternal recovery from early postpartum sleep disturbance.

The Sleep and Sleep Disorders Laboratory will be accepting applications from potential graduate students for Fall of 2014. Applicants should apply to Psychology, concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Research Topics

  • Pediatric Sleep-Disordered Breathing
  • Sleep and Development
  • Postpartum Sleep Disturbance
  • Sleep Methodology

Lab Personnel

Margeaux Gray

Margeaux Gray, MS
Psychology Graduate Student

The relationship between sleep and pain, inspired by my thesis work on sleep architecture following circumcision. My recently-approved dissertation will consider the effects of systematic sleep disturbance on pressure pain threshold/tolerance and will explore a mechanism potentially conferring its effect. I am also interested in the physiological underpinnings of developmental changes in (and related to) sleep architecture, including effects of maternal sleep disturbance on infant sleep and development. Broadly, I’m interested in linking quantifiable sleep data with behavioral observations to realize the advantages of a multi-stage sleep cycle and in investigating how the proportions of the sleep cycle develop and acutely adapt to environmental pressures.

Chris Bauer

Chris Bauer, BA
Neuroscience Graduate Student

I am interested in the impact of infant feeding methods (breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding) and their impact on sleep quality and white matter development. In my dissertation I intend to measure neural connectivity and myelination using MR scans, looking for both whole brain white matter volume and quality of white matter connections (using DTI). Understanding the mechanisms behind why breastfeeding may have a positive impact on the developing individual, both biological and behavioral, could help to one day give us the means to assist newborn children in growing into their full potential, and avoid development-related disorders. Additional interests include various medical imaging technologies, including but not limited to PSG (EEG), MRI, and positron emission tomography (PET).

Colleen Warren

Colleen Warren, MA
Psychology Graduate Student

Colleen is involved in a multi-part study that explores the effects of infant feeding methods on pediatric sleep disordered breathing. My personal research interests revolve around parental knowledge of and behaviors during sleep-related infant care and the integration of healthy and safe parent-infant sleep practices. My thesis study will assess the current state of infant sleep safety in West Virginia by exploring related parental knowledge, sources of information, and practices.

Alisha Brownfield

Alisha Brownfield
Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Currently, I am a junior earning my B.S. in psychology and this is my first year in the sleep research lab. I love studying the mind, with an emphasis in both behavioral and sensory neuroscience. While my experience with studying sleep is still very new, I am interested in learning as much as I can about the processes of sleep and how the body is affected during these phases.

Billie Murray

Billie Murray
Undergraduate Student, Pre-med Psychology and Biology

I am a sophomore pre-med psychology and biology student in the undergraduate program at WVU. Given my major choices, I see neuroscience as the perfect combination of the two. Sleep research allows me the amazing experience of human research. This is my first year in the lab, but I have already learned more than I could in any class. My main interest in sleep research at the moment is simply to learn more about scoring each stage of sleep.





More publications