Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Negar Fani, PhD is a clinical neuropsychologist whose clinical work and research is centered around people with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), particularly those who have experienced childhood maltreatment and other types of interpersonal trauma. She studies the intersection of emotion and cognition in individuals with this disorder—i.e., how do people with PTSD treat incoming emotional information? Is an attentional preference given to some emotions, while other emotions are avoided? What types of emotional information interfere most with their ability to focus on cognitively-demanding tasks? What therapeutic strategies are most beneficial in improving these abilities and enhancing overall quality of life?
Dr. Fani adopts a multi-method approach to examining the various cognitive and affective manifestations of post-traumatic stress, including attentional disruptions, dissociative responses and emotional reactivity. She uses novel cognitive tasks (adapted to the population under study), neuropsychological testing, functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to assess the neural underpinnings of these phenomena, and ultimately, inform the selection of appropriate interventions.
She also investigates genetic and immune factors that influence vulnerability for PTSD, and their interactions with childhood maltreatment. Her interest in research-based interventions is reflected in a current clinical trial for improving attention and interoception in dissociative traumatized people. Dr. Fani has received private funding and NIH support for her research. Active projects include: