Phil Fisher (Clinical, Prevention Research, Stress Neurobiology, Public Policy, Child Maltreatment, Foster Care)


Office: 427 Lewis
Phone Number: (541) 346-4968
E-mail address: philfatuoregon [dot] edu
Web Page:

Research Interests and Publications:

Dr. Fisher's research focuses on childhood trauma and maltreatment, and foster and adopted children.  He is particularly interested in the effects of early stressful experiences on children's neurobiological and psychological development, and in designing and evaluating prevention and treatment programs for improving abused and neglected children's functioning in areas such as attachment to caregivers, relationships with peers, and functioning in school.  He is also interested in the brain's plasticity in the context of therapeutic interventions.  Particular areas of neurobiological functioning in Dr. Fisher's research include the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the prefrontal cortex, and neural reward pathways.  Dr. Fisher is a Professor of Psychology and Research Scientist at the Prevention Science Institute at the University of Oregon.  His laboratory, the Stress Neurobiology and Prevention (SNAP) lab (, includes graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and other researchers with similar interests.  Dr. Fisher is also Science Director for the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs, both based at Harvard University.  He is Co-Principal Investigator, with Patti Chamberlain, on the NIDA-funded Translational Drug Abuse Prevention (TDAP) Center, working to increase understanding of the effects of early adversity and risk in decision-making and behavior on policy and practice in child welfare systems.  Dr. Fisher is the recipient of the 2012 Society for Prevention Research Translational Science Award.  He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1993.

Dr. Fisher will not be accepting new master's students for Fall 2014.

Selected recent publications:

Shonkoff, J.P., & Fisher, P.A. (2013). Rethinking evidence-based practice and two-generation programs to create the future of early childhood policy. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 1635-1653. (PubMed Central - in procress).

Weller, J.A., & Fisher, P.A. (2013). Decision-making deficits among maltreated children. Child Maltreatment, 18, 184-194. PMC3737421.

Bruce, J., Gunnar, M.R., Pears, K.C., & Fisher, P.A. (2013). Early adverse care, stress neurobiology, and prevention science: Lessons learned. Prevention Science, 14, 247-256. PMC3633628.

Graham, A.M., Fisher, P.A., Pfeifer, J.H. (2013). What Sleeping Babies Hear: An fMRI Study of Interparental Conflict and Infants' Emotion Processing. Psychological Science, 24, 782-789. NIHMSID474632.

Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., & Pears, K. C. (2011). Cumulative effects of prenatal substance exposure and early adversity on foster children's HPA-axis reactivity during a psychosocial stressor. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 36, 29-35.

Graham, A., Kim, H. K., & Fisher, P. (2012). Partner aggression in high-risk families from birth to age 3: Associations with harsh parenting and child maladjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 105-114. PMC3380639.

Martin, C., Fisher, P., & Kim, H. K. (2012). Risk for maternal harsh parenting in high-risk families from birth to age three: Does ethnicity matter? Prevention Science, 13, 64-74. (PubMed Central - in process).

Bryck, R. L., & Fisher, P. A. (2012). Training the brain: Practical applications of neural plasticity from the intersection of cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and prevention science. American Psychologist, 67, 87-100. PMC3335430.

Fisher, P. A., Lester, B. M., DeGarmo, D. S., LaGasse, L. L., Lin, H., Shankaran, S., Bada, H. S., Bauer, C. R., Hammond, J., Whitaker, T., & Higgins, R. (2011). The combined effects of prenatal drug exposure and early adversity on neurobehavioral disinhibition in childhood and adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 23(3), 777-788. PMC3335443.

Fisher, P. A., & Pfeifer, J. H. (2011). Conceptual and methodological issues in neuroimaging studies of the effects of child maltreatment. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 165, 1133-1134. PMC3335393.

Fisher, P. A., Stoolmiller, M., Mannering, A. M., & Chamberlain, P. (2011). RCT intervention effects on foster placement disruptions associated with problem behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 481-487. PMC3334279.

Fisher, P. A., Van Ryzin, M. J., & Gunnar, M. R. (2011). Mitigating HPA axis dysregulation associated with placement changes in foster care. Psychoneuoendocrinology, 36, 531-539. NIHMS242238.

Fisher, P. A., & Gunnar, M. R. (2010). Early life stress as a risk factor for disease in adulthood. In R. A. Lanius, E. Vermetten, & C. Pain (Eds.), The impact of early life trauma on health and disease (pp. 133-141). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Pears, K., Bruce, J., Fisher, P., & Kim, H. (2010). Indiscriminate friendliness in maltreated foster children. Child Maltreatment, 15, 64-75. PMC2810349.

Bruce, J., Fisher, P. A., Pears, K. C., & Levine, S. (2008). Morning cortisol levels in preschool-aged foster children: Differential effects of maltreatment type. Developmental Psychobiology, 51, 14-23. PMC2644049.

Fisher, P. A., & Stoolmiller, M. (2008). Intervention effects on foster parent stress: Associations with child cortisol levels. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 1003-1021. PMC3668550.

Fisher, P. A., & Kim, H. K. (2007). Intervention effects on foster preschoolers' attachment-related behaviors from a randomized trial. Prevention Science, 8, 161-170. PMC2533809.

Fisher, P. A., Stoolmiller, M., Gunnar, M. R., & Burraston, B. (2007). Effects of a therapeutic intervention for foster preschoolers on diurnal cortisol activity. Psychoneuroendocrinology. PMC2714427.

Fisher, P. A., Gunnar, M., Dozier, M., Bruce, J., & Pears, K. C. (2006). Effects of a therapeutic intervention for foster children on behavior problems, caregiver attachment, and stress regulatory neural systems. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1094, 215-225.

Gunnar, M. R., Fisher, P. A., & The Early Experience, Stress, and Prevention Science Network. (2006). Bringing basic research on early experience and stress neurobiology to bear on preventive intervention research on neglected and maltreated children. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 651-677.