Vanessa Cao

Vanessa Cao

Graduate Student
Entry Year: 2020-2021
Faculty Mentor(s): Patrick Davies

480 Meliora Hall
Fax: (585) 273-1100


Research Overview

My research interests broadly aim to explore the role of the family adversity, trauma related experiences, and maltreatment within racially and economically diverse populations with a focus on the impact they have on relationships ( parent-parent, parent-child, child-peer) and child socio-emotional development. Moreover, I am specifically interested in elucidating the underlying processes of callous and aggressive behavior development in children and their neurophysiological underpinnings while integrating advanced quantitative modeling.

Research Interests

  • Research Overview

Selected Publications

Selected Publication

  • Schroff, D. S., Harte, T., Cao, V., Waschbusch, D. A. (In preparation) Reward and Punishment Sensitivity in Children with ADHA: Validating the Contingency Response Rating Scale. 
  • Babinski, D. E., Shroff, D. M., Cao, V. T., & Waschbusch, D. A. (accepted). Sex-Specific Norms for Diagnosing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Childhood: A Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) Analysis. Evidence-Based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Selected Presentation

  • Shroff, D.M., Cao, V.T., Waschbusch, D.A., Babinski, D.E. Sex-Specific Norms for Diagnosing ADHD: A Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) Analysis. Poster to be presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ABCT. Atlanta, GA. (Nov. 21-24, 2019).
  • Horst M.A., Vernon T., Cao V., Morgan M., Rogers A., Bradburn E.H., Rogers F.B. An Analysis of Pediatric Social Vulnerability in the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems. 49th Annual Meeting Western Trauma Association (2019). (Abstract and Poster).


  • FA 2020, University of Rochester, PSYC 289 (Developmental Psychopathology), Graduate Teaching
  • FA 2018 - SP 2020, Illinois Science and Technology Institute (Remote): Research Advisor
  • FA 2017, FA 2018, Penn State: BIOL 230W (Molecular and Cellular Biology), Lab Instructor
  • FA 2017, FA 2018, Penn State: BIOL 120A (Plants, People, Places), Teaching Assistant
  • FA 2016, Penn State: BIOL 110S (Freshman Research Initiative), Research Supervisor


  • 2016 - Present, Penn State & University of Rochester: Psi Chi
  • 2015-2018, Penn State: Dean's List
  • 2015-2018, Penn State: University Trustee Scholarship
  • 2015, Penn State: 4-year Provost Award

Additional Information

2018-2020: Penn State College of Medicine, Attention and Behavior Clinic (ABC) Research Group, Research Coordinator

2015-2018: The Pennsylvania University, B.S. (Biology-Neuroscience, Minor: Psychology)