John Colombo

John Colombo
  • Director, Life Span Institute
  • Professor, Department of Psychology

Contact Info

Dole Human Development Center, Room 1052
1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045-7599


John Colombo is a Professor of Psychology, Director of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas.  Along with being an active participant in the Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science doctoral program within the Department of Psychology, he is affiliated with three interdisciplinary doctoral programs: Child Language, Clinical Child Psychology, and Neuroscience.

His research has been focused on the measurement and evaluation of neurocognitive development in infancy and early childhood, and in recent years he has worked on numerous clinical trials evaluating the effects of nutrients and micronutrients on the development of cognitive function in infants and children. He has published over 120 peer-refereed articles and six books/monographs, has presented his work on five continents, and has generated more than $30 million in external research across his career. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, private foundations, and industry. He is past associate editor for the journal Child Development (2007-2013) and past editor of the journal Infancy (2013-2018). He has served on the Developmental and Learning Science panel at the National Science Foundation, and various study sections at the Institute of Education Science and at the National Institutes of Health; he is currently a member of the CCHD Study Section (Eunice Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development). He has placed predoctoral students and postdoctoral trainees in academic positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Arizona, the University of Georgia, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Baylor University, Loyola University (Chicago), Indiana State University, and Eastern Carolina University.


Postdoctoral in Developmental Psychology, University of Kansas, 1982
Ph.D. in Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1981, Buffalo, N.Y.
M.A. in Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1979, Buffalo, N.Y.
B.A. in Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1977


For the past 35 years, I have conducted research on individual and developmental differences in attention and their consequences for long-term developmental outcome in typically-developing and at-risk populations of infants, toddlers, and children. Over the course of my career, I have been PI, Co-PI, or Co-I on federal grants totaling close to $30M, and I have been working in research administration since 2004.  I have served as director of our research institute since 2008, and have served interim roles as Vice Chancellor and Dean over the last four years while still maintaining an active research program (25 peer-reviewed papers and books published during that time).