My research interests are focused on the neurobiology of various mental health issues. In past projects I have worked on trauma, in both animal models and in human studies. As a licensed psychotherapist in NYC, I work with people with many different mental health issues, some of which are unresponsive to both pharmacological and behavioral treatments. These clinical stories are a major component that drives my passion for research, as the deeper understanding of the biological and cognitive underpinnings of these disorders could lead to novel treatments in pharmacology and psychotherapy.
Currently my interests are in the underlying neurobiology involved in depression and cognitive-affective bias. Neither of these topics are well understood, and roughly half of depressed patients do not respond to typical treatments. In these clients, we see a relationship between treatment resistant depression and adverse childhood experiences (early life stress), suggesting that stress early in life could lead to persistent biological changes. These changes may impact depressed mood and impact cognition as well, as negative attentional bias (cognitive-affective bias in animal behavior terms) is a common feature in depression. By examining the direct impact of ELS on an animal and exploring behavioral and biological outcomes, we can further expand our understanding of the neurobiology of depression- an enterprise that could lead to helping millions of people from novel treatments.