Named Professorships

James McKenna

James McKenna

Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Professor of Anthropology

Few scholars can claim to have pioneered an entirely novel field of research, but James McKenna can. He conducted the first and only behavioral and electro-physiological studies documenting differences between mothers and infants sleeping together and apart. His research suggests that mother-baby interaction and breastfeeding in a “good” bed environment contributes to safety, social bonding, and optimum infant brain development.

As such, McKenna has become known worldwide for his work in promoting breastfeeding and mother-infant co-sleeping. He is now one of the chief spokespersons to the national press on issues of safe infant sleep and breastfeeding.

At Notre Dame, McKenna directs the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. In 2008, he was inducted as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of the country's most exclusive scientific societies. That same year he was awarded a top prize from the American Anthropological Association—the Anthropologist in the Media Award—for promulgating to the public the importance of anthropological research, writing, and concepts.

Contact Professor McKenna.    
Visit his website.   
Learn more about the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory.

Father Ned Joyce, after whom this professorship is named, oversaw University finances as Notre Dame’s executive vice president from 1952 to 1987. For many years, Father Joyce was an influential voice in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, particularly in matters dealing with the educational integrity of intercollegiate athletics programs.