Elizabeth Prado

Elizabeth Prado

Position Title
Assistant Professor



Prado, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition, specializes in nutrition and child development during early life. Prado completed her Ph.D. in psychology with a focus on child development at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2017. She originally came to UC Davis in 2010 as a postdoctoral scholar and assistant project scientist in the Department of Nutrition.

Research interests:

Nutrition and child development, caregiving, health and other influences on child development, low-resource settings, evaluating programs and policies to support children to achieve their developmental potential, cross-cultural developmental and cognitive assessment

Brief overview:

Like a vine, children need nurturing care and strong support structures to ensure their healthy growth and development to their full potential. Parents and caregivers are the gardeners that tend and nurture the vine so that it can grow and flourish. Policies and programs, from the national to community level, are the trellis that supports the vine to grow.

At the Translational Research in Early Life Learning for Impact at Scale (TRELLIS) lab, we work with collaborators from across the globe. My lab conducts research informing how policies and programs can best support parents and caregivers to provide the nurturing care that children need to thrive.

Our research approaches include:

  • Efficacy, effectiveness and impact evaluations
  • Longitudinal cohort studies
  • Methodological studies and reviews on assessing child development and cognition in low- and middle-income contexts

Currently, we are conducting a follow-up study measuring cognitive, motor and socioemotional development in preschoolers in Ghana who received lipid-based nutrient supplements during infancy and whose mothers consumed lipid-based nutrient supplements during pregnancy. We are also evaluating the impact on memory, language and motor skills of a nutritional intervention providing chicken’s eggs to children in Malawi from age six months to 15 months.

As a researcher, my goal is to translate basic science on the effects of nutrition and other environmental factors on brain development into practical interventions that can benefit mothers and children worldwide.

Current projects:

  • Evaluating developmental outcomes of nutritional and other caregiving interventions during early life
  • Analyzing longitudinal cohorts enrolled before birth in nutritional interventions and followed through preschool or school age
  • Adapting and validating developmental and cognitive assessment tools in low- and middle-income countries