Associate Director of Research | Associate Professor of Psychology d.knight@tcu.edu

Danica Kalling Knight, Ph.D.is the Associate Director of Research at the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development (KPICD), Associate Professor of Psychology, and Senior Research Scientist at TCU’s Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR). In addition to leading the research team, Dr. Knight teaches developmental courses, mentors undergraduates working in the KPICD research lab, and mentors graduate students working toward their PhD in Experimental Psychology.


Dr. Knight earned her Bachelor of Music degree (BM, Music Therapy) from Southern Methodist University, and her MS and PhD in Experimental Psychology from Texas Christian University. She served as Research Scientist at TCU’s IBR for 27 years where she conducted large-scale research projects designed to address adolescent mental health and substance use issues. In 2019, she joined the KPICD and began collaborating with the Education, Outreach, and Research teams to adapt TBRI for justice-involved youth and strengthen the overall evidence base for TBRI.


Her publications focus on identifying factors affecting recovery from substance use and trauma; improving substance use screening, assessment, and treatment services for justice-involved youth; understanding organizational factors associated with the adoption, implementation, and use of best practices; and testing strategies for improving identification and linkage to treatment. Dr. Knight currently serves as PI on four National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grants, two of which are cooperative agreements under the nation’s Helping End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative (https://heal.nih.gov/).   One of those, the Leveraging Safe Adults(LeSA) project, tests the effectiveness of TBRI in preventing substance use among justice-involved youth as they transition home after secure residential care (project description: https://ibr.tcu.edu/projects/preventing-opioid-use-among-justice-invovled-youth-as-they-transition-to-adulthood-leveraging-safe-adults-lesa/).


Dr. Knight and her husband Dr. Kevin Knight are both TCU alums and worked together at the IBR until Danica’s move to KPICD. Kevin now serves as IBR Director. Their daughter Lorelle is a physician in San Antonio and son Collin designs multi-family housing with an architecture firm in Houston.