Jessica Blanco

Jessica Blanco
Mentor: Dr. Charlene Krueger
College of Nursing
"I became involved with research because of my natural curiosity. Research gives me an opportunity to put my curiosity and skills to good use by exploring the unknown and making a difference for the future. I hope to continue conducting research throughout my career and am excited to see what my research will uncover!"




Educational Studies

Research Interests

  • Mother-Baby Relationship
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program
  • Florida Academic Scholar
  • American Express Scholarship
  • Golden Key Honor Society


  • Alpha Omicron Pi
  • Dance Marathon
  • Best Buddies


  • Sydney Lanier Program
  • Camp Boggy Creek
  • Shands ICU Volunteer

Hobbies and Interests

  • Baking
  • Reading
  • Beach

Research Description

A Feasibility Study on Maternal Voice as a Regulator of Neurobehavioral Development in the Premature Infant

The study’s primary objective intends to establish whether exposure to maternal voice influences early neurobehavioral development in very low birth weight preterm infants by actuating the release of secretin—a hormone aiding in digestion. This study will focus on twenty-eight stable premature infants born between 27 and 28 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA) and their mothers. The mothers and infants will be randomized to listen to either a 45-second maternal recording of a passage twice daily, seven days per week during three different longitudinal periods. Weekly assessments and tracking the infant’s progression to oral feeding will measure the infant’s neurobehavioral development and ability to recognize their mother’s voice. At 34 weeks PMA, all groups will have secretin levels measured. The central hypothesis theorizes that exposing preterm infants to a low-decibel recording of the mother’s voice each day will favorably regulate neurobehavioral development by prompting the release of secretin in the gastrointestinal track. Projected outcomes are anticipated to contribute to low cost methods utilized to improve development for preterm infants considered high-risk for neurobehavioral development complications.