Suzanne King, PhD

Suzanne King, PhD



6875 Boulevard LaSalle
Montréal, QC
H4H 1R3

 Office:E-3131, 3C, Perry Pavilion

 Office phone: (514) 761-6131 x2353

 Fax: (514) 762-3049

  Lab website:

Researcher, Douglas Research Centre
Full Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Associate Member, Department of Psychology, McGill University
Associate Member, Human Development, Faculty of Education, McGill University
Associate Member, Department of Psychology, Université de Montréal

Lab name: Role of prenatal maternal stress in the development of psychopathology


Suzanne King studies developmental psychopathology, and the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD). In the past, she has used retrospective research with schizophrenia patients and controls. Currently, her work is focused on 3 prospective longitudinal studies of children who were exposed to maternal stress in utero as the result of a natural disaster: The Quebec ice storm of 1998; Iowa floods of 2008; and Queensland floods in Australia in 2011. Developmental outcomes include cognitive development (incl. IQ, language, memory, attention), physical development (incl. body composition and obesity, metabolism, brain structure, immunity, craniofacial dysmorphology, epigenetics), behavioral development (incl. internalizing, externalizing, autistic- or psychotic-like traits) and motor development (incl. balance, coordination, fine motor, visual motor integration).

Suzanne King, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University as well as a principle investigator at the McGill-affiliated Douglas Mental Health University Institute, both in Montreal, Canada. After graduate training in psychology and educational research in Virginia, she conducted post-doctoral research at the Douglas, studying the family dynamics of people with schizophrenia. Her results led to the study of risk factors for mental illness, and then of prenatal maternal stress in particular. She is currently running three studies of children exposed to natural disasters in utero in order to understand the nature and mechanisms of effects of prenatal stress.

Quebec Research Fellowship (FRSQ: Junior 1, Junior 2, Senior) 1991-2003
Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow, Australian Catholic University Brisbane, Queensland 2012

Research Associate: David P. Laplante, Ph.D.
Statistician: Guillaume Elgbeili, M.Sc.
Research Coordinator: Isabelle Bouchard, M.A. (on maternity leave 2015)
Post-doctoral fellow: Lei Cao-Lei, Ph.D.
Post-doctoral fellow: Sherri Lee Jones, Ph.D.
Doctoral student: Sandra Lafortune (Psychology, Université de Montréal)
Doctoral student: Benjhyna Daniel (Psychology, Université de Montréal)
Masters Student: Kyle McKee (Integrated Program in Neurosciences, McGill)

1. Laplante, D.P., Brunet, A., King, S. (In press). The effects of maternal stress and illness during pregnancy on infant temperament: Project Ice Storm. In press at Pediatric Research.

2. Cao-Lei, L., Dancause, K.N., Elgbeili, G., Massart, R., Szyf, M., Laplante, D.P. & King, S. (2015) DNA methylation mediates the impact of exposure to prenatal maternal stress from the Quebec Ice Storm disaster on BMI and central adiposity in children at age 13½ years. Epigenetics, 10 (8), 749-61. DOI: 10.1080/15592294.2015.1063771.

3. Veru, F., Dancause, K., Laplante, D.P., King, S., Luheshi, G. (2015) Prenatal maternal stress predicts reductions in CD4+ lymphocytes, increases in innate-derived cytokines and Th2 shift in adolescents: Project Ice Storm. Physiology and Behavior, 144:137-145.
DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.03.016.

4. Yong-Ping, E., Laplante, D.P., Elgbeili, G., Hillerer, K.M., Brunet, A., O’Hara, M.W. & King, S. (2015). Prenatal maternal stress and toddler stress reactivity at 2½ years of age: The Iowa Flood Study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 56: 62-78 doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.02.015

5. Dancause, K.N., Laplante, D.P., Hart, K.J., O’Hara, M. W., Engeldinger, J., Yu, C., Elgbeili, G., Brunet, A., and King, S. (2015) Prenatal stress due to a natural disaster predicts adiposity in childhood: The Iowa Flood Study. Journal of Obesity, Article ID doi:10.1155/2015/570541, 10 pages.

6. Cao-Lei, Lei, Elgbeili, G., Massart, R., Laplante, D.P., Szyf, M., & King, S. (2015). Pregnant women’s cognitive appraisal from a natural disaster affects DNA methylation in their children 13 years later: Project Ice Storm. Translational Psychiatry, 5, e515; doi:10.1038/tp.2015.13.

7. Brock, R.L., O’Hara, M.W., Hart, K.J., McCabe, J.E., Williamson, J.A., Laplante, D.P., Yu1, C., King, S. (2014). Partner support and maternal depression in the context of the Iowa Floods. Journal of Family Psychology, 28 (6), 832-843. ttp://

8. Cao-Lei, L., Massart, R., Suderman, M., Machnes, Z., Laplante1, D.P., Szyf, M. & King. S. (2014) DNA methylation signatures triggered by prenatal maternal stress exposure to a natural disaster: Project Ice Storm. PLoS ONE 9(9): e107653. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107653.

9. Walder, D., Laplante1, D.P., Sousa-Pires, A., Veru, F., Brunet, A., King, S. (2014) Prenatal maternal stress predicts autism traits in 6½ year-old children: Project Ice Storm. Psychiatry Research, 219 (2), 353-360.

10. Turcotte-Tremblay, A.-M., Lim, R., Laplante, D. P., Kobzik, L., Brunet, A. & King, S. (2014). Prenatal Maternal Stress Predicts Childhood Asthma in Girls: Project Ice Storm. BioMed Research International, Article ID 201717,

11. Veru, F., Laplante, D.P., Luheshi, G., & King, S. (2014). Prenatal maternal stress exposure and immune function in offspring. Stress, 17(2), 133-148. PMID: 24417382.
12. Cao, X.J., Laplante, D.P., Brunet, A., Ciampi, A., & King, S. (2014). Prenatal maternal stress affects motor function in 5½ year-old children: Project Ice Storm. Developmental Psychobiology, 56(1), 117-125.

13. Braehler, C., Valiquette, L., Holowka, D., Malla, A.K., Joober, R., Ciampi, A., Pawliuk, N., & King, S., et al. (2013). Childhood Trauma and Dissociation in First Episode Schizophrenia, Chronic Schizophrenia, and Community Controls. Psychiatry Research, 210 (1), 36-42.

14. Dancause, K.N., Veru, F., Andersen, R., Laplante, D.P., & King, S.. (2013) Prenatal stress due to a natural disaster predicts insulin secretion in adolescence. Early Human Development, 89: 773-776.

15. King, S., Dancause, K.N., Turcotte-Tremblay, A-M., Veru3, F., & Laplante, D.P. (2012) Using Natural Disasters to Study the Effects of Prenatal Maternal Stress on Child Health and Development. Birth Defects Research Part C: Embryo Today: Reviews, 96: 273-288.