PhD in Occupational Science-University of Southern California


Leah Duker completed her undergraduate education at Emory University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She received her MA in Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Southern California with a focus on pediatrics including school-based practice and sensory integration interventions. She worked in the field of pediatrics (primarily school-based and sensory integration) before coming back to the USC to complete her PhD in Occupational Science to examine, with her advisor Dr. Sharon Cermak, the impact of the sensory environment on children with autism spectrum disorders receiving oral care. Dr. Duker's research is focused on designing and studying the efficacy of tailored environmental modifications to alleviate behavioral stress, physiological distress and pain in children undergoing difficult healthcare procedures and in their caregivers. Her research interests include autism, pediatric oncology, sensory processing, Multisensory Environments and both traditional wired and innovative wireless techniques for measuring psychophysiological stress and anxiety.

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.