Sarah Watamura

Sarah Enos Watamura

Professor; Chair, Psychology; Fellow, Chair Training & Development

  • Faculty

What I do

I am a developmental psychobiologist by training, a dedicated applied researcher of stress, adversity and health in children and families, a teacher and mentor, a preventative intervention developer, and an engaged community scholar.


stress, trauma, adversity, intervention, Parenting, early childhood, child care, psychobiology

Professional Biography

Sarah Watamura is Professor of Psychology Department within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. She is part of the Developmental and Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Areas within the Psychology department. She joined the department in 2005 after receiving her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University. In 2014, she was instrumental in creating the Stress, Early Experiences and Development (SEED) Research Center and has served as co-Director since its creation. She is currently Chair of the Department of Psychology.


  • Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Cornell University, 2005
  • MA, Developmental Psychology, Cornell University, 2002
  • BS, Child Development, University of Minnesota, 1998

Professional Affiliations

  • International Society for Development Psychobiology
  • Society for Research in Child Development


My work examines the socio-contextual factors contributing to early adverse and protective experiences and targets increasing the capacity of caregivers in adverse environments (parents, teachers, professionals) to prevent and mitigate the effects of early adversity. In all aspects of my work from conceptualization through dissemination I engage trainees (undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral). Our work is deeply embedded in communities, with the questions, methods, interpretation, and dissemination shaped through engagement with community partners and stakeholders. In all our efforts we aim to contribute rigorous, theoretically grounded research and practical tools that address pressing public health needs. The courses I teach are aligned with my approach, including training students in research methods and advanced courses in socio-emotional development and stress & health. I mentor across levels to support cross-disciplinary community-engaged work. All of my work benefits from collaboration with talented and dedicated colleagues, most notably as part of the Stress, Early Experiences and Development (SEED) Research Center.

Areas of Research

early childhood
child care

Key Projects

  • A Microsocial Video-Coaching Intervention for Toxically Stressed EHS Families
  • Roots Workshops and Coaching
  • Seedlings Curriculum for New and Expectant Parents
  • Examining the Biological Embedding of Resilience in Adolescent Parents and their Children

Featured Publications

Miles, E. M., Dmitrieva, J. O., Hurwich-Reiss, E., Badanes, L. S., Mendoza, M. M., Perreira, K. M., & Enos Watamura, S. (2018). Evidence for a Physiologic Home-School Gap in Children of Latina Immigrants. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
Enos Watamura, S., & Roth, T. L. (2018). Looking back and moving forward: Evaluating and advancing translation from animal models to human studies of early life stress and DNA methylation. Developmental Psychobiology, 61(3), 323-340.


Enos Watamura, S. (2018). Manifestations of Stress in Early Childhood: Antecedents and Outcomes. Ta'leem 2018: Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia.
Enos Watamura, S. (2018). Beyond Trauma-Informed: Acting from an Ecological Understanding of Risk & Protection. National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds Annual Meeting. Charleston, SC.
Enos Watamura, S. (2018). The Psychobiology of Trauma and Resilience in Families: Strengths in Immigrant and Refugee Communities. New York, NY: Adelphi University, Institute for Parenting.
Enos Watamura, S. (2017). Cheers to the Changing Brain: Rethinking the Biology of Adversity. Tulsa, OK.
Enos Watamura, S. (2018). Four Top Lines of Research Relevant for Policies and Investments for Children & Families. . National Council of State Legislators. Washington, DC.


  • Aspen Institute Fellow, Ascend at the Aspen Institute

Graduate Mentorship

​​​​​​Dr. Watamura will be reviewing applications for fall 2024 admission.