Our Research

Clinical Cognitive Affective Neuroscience Lab

Discover More

Transdiagnostic Brain-Behavior Profiling to Enhance Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

NIMH R01MH112705

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can relieve the suffering and impairment associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD).  However, there is room for improvement as response to CBT is varied and it is difficult to predict at the outset who will experience clinically-meaningful change after completing a trial of CBT.  In this study of adults with MDD or SAD, an integrative, multi-measurement approach (e.g., fMRI, EEG, behavioral) is used to examine emotion regulation function, neuropsychological performance, and reward processes before, during, and after 12 weeks of CBT which is compared with 12 weeks of supportive therapy.  We believe the data collected from this study will help us better understand why CBT works and for whom in individuals with MDD or SAD, which has implications for other internalizing psychopathologies.

Effects of THC on Retention of Memory for Fear Extinction Learning in PTSD

NIMH R61MH111935

Trauma-focused psychotherapy is first-line psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is believed to work through fear extinction mechanisms.  While generally effective, many remain symptomatic after treatment.  Animal studies have shown that activation of the cannabinoid system during extinction learning enhances fear extinction and its retention. Specifically, CB1 receptor agonists, such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), can facilitate extinction recall by preventing recovery of extinguished fear in rats. This aim of this study is to use Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol to increase retention of fear extinction in PTSD to improve clinical outcome.

Brain Mechanisms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder

CBT is a widely used first-line treatment for social anxiety disorder (SAD), a prevalent, debilitating disorder. However, the specific mechanisms by which CBT exerts its therapeutic effects are unknown. The primary goal of this research is to elucidate the effects of CBT on brain function, particularly in relation to emotion regulation strategies implicated in CBT. A better understanding of the neural mechanisms of CBT and of individual differences in treatment response in SAD has the potential to improve our understanding of CBT mechanisms thereby optimizing current interventions.

Identification of Neural Predictors of Response to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Depression and Anxiety

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD)

The objective of this study is to broaden the clinical impact of an existing NIMH-funded K23 Career

Development Award project by including individuals with major depressive disorder.  The project involves longitudinal fMRI and EEG measures of socio-emotional processing and emotion regulation before and after CBT.

Sleep Disturbance in Mood Disorders Across the Lifespan

Campus Research Board Pilot Grant - University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

This study integrates actigraphy, an objective measure of sleep and activity-rest cycles, into several ongoing studies at the University of Illinois, which examine anxiety and mood disorders across the lifespan in order to test the feasibility of actigraphy.

Neural Mechanisms of Attention-Emotion Interactions in Social Anxiety Disorder

NIH UL1RR024986

This study uses fMRI to examine the neural correlates of attentional control over threat-relevant stimuli in individuals with social anxiety disorder.