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Research Opportunities

Faculty Mentor Research

While specific research interests are tailored to the individual resident, there are several areas of research that especially play to the strengths of Emory’s research faculty and research programs, all of which utilize innovative technologies, address cutting-edge problems, and facilitate multidisciplinary research integration.  These areas of focus build on the strengths of the Department and the Emory research community with respect to faculty expertise, facilities, and resources.  These are areas of research that distinguish Emory psychiatry from other institutions and provide the basis for choosing Emory over other research track programs.

Neurobiology of Fear and Trauma-Related Disorders (Atlanta Trauma Alliance)(e.g., Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D., Shelia Rauch, Ph.D., Douglas Bremner, M.D., Nadine Kaslow, PhD, Boadie Dunlop, M.D.,  Ph.D., Shannon Gourley, Ph.D.).  This program of research provides a vast array of training opportunities, from animal models of fear and fear regulation to human studies of PTSD in civilian and military populations including the Emory Veterans Program. This program also includes the Grady Trauma Project which has characterized over 10,000 inner city individuals with high rates of trauma.  

Behavioral Immunology and Neuroendocrinology (e.g., Andrew Miller, M.D., David Goldsmith, M.D., Michael Treadway, Ph.D. Jennifer Felger, Ph.D., Jennifer Stevens. Ph.D., Vasiliki Michopoulos, Ph.D., Zhexing Wen, Ph.D., Mar Sanchez, Ph.D., Eliver Ghosen, Ph.D., Manoj Bhasin, Ph.D.) This multi-disciplinary program focuses on the role of the immune and neuroendocrine systems in regulation of behavior in humans and non-human primates and examines treatment strategies targeting these systems for behavioral alterations in major depression, anxiety disorders and PTSD and medical illnesses including cancer.   

Neurodevelopment and Social Translational Neuroscience (e.g., Larry Young, Ph.D., Ami Klin, M.D., Edward Craighead, PhD., Joseph Cubells, M.D., Ph.D.).  Translational neuroscience and applied clinical approaches are utilized to identify the etiological mechanisms in abnormal social-emotional development and the neurobiological processes involved in normal social behavior.  This program includes a broad array of clinical research training opportunities that span the developmental continuum including early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and the treatment of emotionally dysregulated adolescents, as well as basic science opportunities to study the neurohormonal mechanisms including oxytocin involved in social behavior.

The Mental Health and Development Research Program (e.g. Elaine Walker, Ph.D., David Goldsmith, M.D., Erica Duncan, M.D.) This program focuses on the precursors and neurodevelopmental aspects of psychopathology, especially schizophrenia. The program studies brain development, hormones, and neuropsychological functions that may play a role in risk for and prevention of mental illness. The program serves as one of nine sites for the North American Prodromal Longitudinal Study that collaborate on studies of the early indicators of risk for psychotic disorders. Studies of individuals at clinical high risk generate rich datasets that include clinical interviews, neurocognitive testing, psychophysiological testing, social cognition testing, MRI scans, and blood draws for markers that include inflammatory and immune-related biomarkers. 

Community Mental Health Research (e.g., Benjamin Druss, M.D., Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D.).  This program provides unique training opportunities in the application of public health policy to psychiatric disorders, assessing healthcare utilization among the mentally ill, and identifying biopsychosocial predictors of development of psychosis and suicidality in high risk community mental health patients.

Biomedical Informatics and Biomedical Engineering (e.g. Gari Clifford, Ph.D., Susan Margulies Ph.D.). This program focuses on the application of signal processing, machine  learning, and physiological modeling to medicine to classify, teach and predict health and illness, including digital psychiatry and neuroinformatics. Using wearable devices and smartphone technology, the lab studies physiologic data, such as heart rate variability, to study symptoms of various psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD and schizophrenia. 

Emory Neuromodulation and Technology Innovation Center (ENTICe) (e.g., Robert Gross,  M.D., Douglas Bremner, M.D., Patricio Riva-Posse, M.D, William McDonald, M.D.)  This program is a collaborative effort between the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry and the Department of Biomedical Engineering. What makes ENTICe unique is that it crosses the boundaries of traditional academic departments and scientific disciplines to focus on the specific goal of advancing research in neuromodulation and developing new and innovative neuromodulation devices. Including physician-scientists, biomedical engineers, clinicians, and others at Emory and its academic partners, the program is involved in the development and use of neuromodulation technologies for the manipulation of neurocircuits and the treatment of psychiatric and neurologic diseases. It builds upon multiple established and newly developing neuroimaging programs across 3 universities in Metro Atlanta, and includes treatment modalities for adult and geriatric populations, as well as experimental use of neuromodulation techniques in cognitive neuroscience. 

In addition to the programs indicated above, the following Table includes individual faculty members who may serve as research mentors to residents interested in pursuing research opportunities: 

Faculty

Expertise

Faculty

Expertise

Gary Bassell, Ph.D.

Professor, Cell Biology

Genetic neurological diseases resulting from impairments in mRNA regulation

James Lah, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Neurology

Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders

Manoj Bhasin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Pediatrics

Single cell profiling, transcriptomics, bioinformatics and systems biology

Allan Levey, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Neurology

Novel therapeutics and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease

Doug Bremner, M.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Imaging in stress-related disorders, neuromodulation

William McDonald, M.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Treatment resistant and late-life depression

Patricia Brennan, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychology

Maternal stress and the gut-brain axis in infants

Vas Michopoulos, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Sex differences in stress- and trauma-induced adverse mental and physical health

Vince Calhoun, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychology

Methods for better understanding brain imaging data

Brad Pearce, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Epidemiology

Pregnancy complications and neurodevelopmental disorders

Gari Clifford, Ph.D.

Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Machine learning and physiological modeling to improve healthcare

Mark Rapaport, M.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Alternative treatments for depression

Claire Coles, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Behavioral teratogenic effects of prenatal alcohol and drug exposure

Sheila Rauch, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Treatments and mechanisms of PTSD

Ed Craighead, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Psychopathology, assessment, and interventions for mood disorders

Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Early interventions following trauma and PTSD

Joe Cubells, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Human Genetics

22q11 Deletion Syndrome and autism spectrum disorder

Mar Sanchez, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Stress neurobiology and developmental psychobiology

Daniel Dilks, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychology

Learning and the human visual cortex

Larry Scahill, Ph.D.

Professor, Pediatrics

Psychopharmacological and behavioral interventions in autism spectrum disorder

Ben Druss, M.D., MPH

Professor, Public Health and Psychiatry

Public health aspects of serious mental illness

Alicia Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Gynecology and Obstetrics

Genetic, epigenetic and environmental mechanisms in stress-related disorders

Erica Duncan, M.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Neuroimmunology and psychophysiology of schizophrenia

Jennifer Stevens, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Imaging neurobiological pathways promoting stress vulnerability or resilience

Boadie Dunlop, M.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Major depressive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder

Christopher Tipton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Medicine

Immunological tolerance and development of autoreactivity in autoimmune disorders

Jennifer Felger, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Neuroendocrine, neuropeptide and immune systems in behavior and stress response

Elaine Walker, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychology

Etiology of schizophrenia and other psychoses

Eliver Ghosn, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Medicine and Pediatrics

Systems immunology approach to study fetal-derived tissue-resident immune cells

David Weinshenker, Ph.D., Professor, Human Genetics

Models of drug addiction, affective disorder and neurodegenerative disease

Shannon Gourley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Pediatrics

Neurobehavioral consequences of cocaine exposure

Zhexing Wen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Cell Biology, Neurology

Patient-derived IPS cells to elucidate biological function in psychiatric disorders

Robert Gross, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Biomedical Engineering

Novel surgical therapies for epilepsy

Phillip Wolff, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychology

Natural language to understand cognitive processes and mental health

Ebrahim Haroon, M.D.

Associate Professor, Psychiatry

Inflammation-induced CNS changes

Jens Wrammert, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Human and macaque B cell responses following infection or vaccination

Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Intimate partner violence, PTSD, suicide and drug abuse in high-risk populations

Larry Young, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychiatry

Neurobiological and genetic mechanisms underlying social behavior

Ami Klin, Ph.D.

Professor, Pediatrics

Autism spectrum disorder

Rohan Palmer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Genetics of substance abuse