Fonda Davis Eyler, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus
College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics


Dr. Fonda Davis Eyler is a clinical developmental psychologist and a professor emeritus of pediatrics, College of Medicine (COM). Her research has focused on the effects on development of early and on-going risk and protective factors. For nearly two decades, she and colleague Dr. Marylou Behnke, M.D. were funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse- National Institute of Health for a longitudinal cohort study of the effects on children of maternal cocaine use during pregnancy. From 1988 until 2011, she directed the North Central Early Steps Program (Part C of IDEA) and in that capacity represented the interests of children with disabilities and their families at regional and state levels.

Dr. Eyler has mentored many junior faculty, medical fellows, and doctoral and undergraduate students. She was awarded a UF Research Professorship, recognized as a Top 100 Funded Researcher at UF, and elected to membership in the Pediatric Academic Societies. Dr. Eyler also has been active in governance at the department, college, and university levels, serving on the UF Faculty Senate and as President of the COM Faculty Council. She was recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the UF Association of Academic Women and Distinguished Psychologist by the North Central Florida Psychological Association. Dr. Eyler has an extensive publication record with more than 55 refereed articles and chapters. She has served on numerous review boards and panels, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development special review committees.

Dr. Eyler is on the Steering Committee for the Anita Zucker UF Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies and continues to be involved in leadership with the Center affiliated faculty. She was a core faculty member for the UF Post-Doctoral Research Training Fellowship in Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education. In that position, she mentored several postdocs in the program. Dr Eyler has also served on several graduate student dissertation committees at the Center. The data base from her and Dr. Behnke’s longitudinal study is now housed at the Zucker Center and has provided data for research and instruction for several trainees at the Center.

Recent Grants

Brain Development, Behavior and Cognition in Pre- and Postnatal Cocaine Exposure

  • NIH NIDA R21DA027561
  • Role: Site Co-Principal Investigator, PI: T. Warner
  • 9/15/09-9/14/13
  • Award: total direct funding $934,862

Early Steps Primary Service Provider Project, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Center for Early Intervention and Prevention

  • Florida State University
  • Role: Principal Investigator
  • 05/01/09-12/31/09
  • Award: total funding $37,312

Training in Treatment Outcome Research with Child Populations

  • NIH NICHD T32HD007524
  • Role:  Core Training Faculty, PI: S. Boggs
  • 5/01/03-4/3/08
  • Award: total direct funding $880,000 for five 3-year pre-doctoral fellows and three 2-year post-doctoral fellows

Project CARE

  • NIH NIDA 3R0 DA05854 competitive renewal grant
  • Role: Principal Investigator
  • 3/01/02-2/28/08
  • Award: total direct funding $3,515,777
  • 70% funded effort

Select Publications

Warner, T.D., Behnke, M., Eyler, F.D., & Szabo, N. (2011). Pre-adolescent cocaine use as determined by hair analysis in a prenatal cocaine exposure cohort. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 33(1), 88-99. doi:10.1016/

Warner, T.D., Behnke, M., Eyler, F.D., Padgett, K.R., Hou, W., Garvan, C.W., Leonard, C.M., & Schmalfuss, I.M. (2006). Diffusion tensor imaging of frontal white matter and executive functioning in cocaine-exposed children. Pediatrics 118(5), 2014-2024. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-0003

Eyler, F.D., Warner, T.D., Behnke, M., Hou, W., Wobie, K., & Garvan, C.W. (2009). Executive functioning at ages 5 and 7 years in children with prenatal cocaine exposure. Developmental Neuroscience, 31, 121-136. doi:10.1159/000207500

Eyler, F.D., Behnke, M., Conlon, M., Woods, N.S., & Wobie, K. (1998).  Part II: Birth outcome from a prospective matched study of prenatal crack/cocaine use: Interactive and dose effects on neurobehavioral assessment. Pediatrics, 101, 237-241. doi:10.1542/peds.101.2.237

View full list of publications (pdf)

View recent publications for Anita Zucker Center members

Fonda Davis Eyler, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology,
    University of Florida
  • M.A. in Psychology,
    California State University at San Jose
  • B.A. in Psychology,
    Mary Washington College, University of Virginia

Awards & Appointments

  • University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship, 2006-2009
  • “Distinguished Psychologist” awarded by North Central Florida Psychological
    Association, 2006
  • “Woman of Distinction” awarded by UF Association of Academic Women, 2005
  • Elected to membership in the American Pediatric Society, 2004