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So far Jennifer Gibson has created 10 blog entries.
23 06, 2020

A Web-based Intervention to Improve Mental Health Outcomes Among Newly Diagnosed Parents with Cancer | Park | $39,997

A Web-based Intervention to Improve Mental Health Outcomes Among Newly Diagnosed Parents with Cancer 2020 Award: $39,997 Parental cancer threatens the mental health of the entire family. High-quality parental communication supports and facilitates psychological adjustment to illness for both parents and children, but many parents do not have timely access to these important mental health services. In this project we will develop and test a novel web-based psychosocial intervention designed to facilitate parental communication about cancer. If effective, this intervention could provide timely, cost-effective mental health support to address the communication concerns of distressed parents with cancer, thus improving mental health outcomes for their children as well. Need/Problem: Serious illness in a parent threatens the mental health of the entire family. The impact of parental cancer on the family can be reduced by facilitating parents’ communication about illness with [...]

22 06, 2020

Probing the Neural Substrates of Bulimia Nervosa | Baker & Schiller | $39,065

Probing the Neural substrates of Bulimia Nervosa 2020 Award: $39,065 This study will use MRI technology to follow how ovarian hormones affect symptoms of bulimia such as binge eating. Need/Problem: Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that afflicts approximately 3% of individuals and is associated with a number of negative consequences. There is also a disconnect between the burden of bulimia nervosa and the availability of effective treatments. Our limited understanding of what causes bulimia nervosa is hindering progress on the development of new treatments. Grant Summary: We will study if activity in the brain changes when exposed to different reproductive hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, in women with bulimia nervosa. Goals and Projected Outcomes: Having a better understanding of what causes bulimia nervosa may lead to the development of targeted treatments with better effectiveness than those currently [...]

19 06, 2020

Depression in the Menopause Transition: Stress and Inflammation as Pathways of Risk | Fiacco | $31,107

Depression in the Menopause Transition: Stress and inflammation as pathways of risk 2020 Award: $31,107 In the transition to menopause (perimenopause), depressive symptoms are very common and there is a 2-4 fold increased risk to develop Major Depression (MDD) when compared to the premenopausal stage. Erratic changes in ovarian steroid hormones including estradiol (E2) seem to increase the risk for MDD, especially in women who have experienced recent life stress (e.g., divorce, death of loved one). So far, the precise biological pathways by which high E2 variability and stress lead to MDD are poorly understood. With this project, we will investigate pro-inflammatory processes as one potential pathway of risk. Need/Problem: The menopausal transition is associated with a 2-4 fold increase in risk for major depression (MDD) and other inflammatory diseases, substantial psychosocial stress, and a dynamic ovarian endocrine environment with significant [...]

11 06, 2020

Probing Gene-environment Interactions in Schizophrenia and Stress: Integrating human GWAS and mouse models | McElligott | $60,000

Probing Gene-environment Interactions in Schizophrenia and Stress: Integrating human GWAS and mouse models 2020 Award: $60,000 Schizophrenia is a heritable disorder that is impacted by environmental influences like stressful life experience. Studies have demonstrated thousands of genetic differences are associated with schizophrenia; however we do not understand the impact of these differences, or how stress experience may influence these differences in DNA. In this project we use molecular biology techniques to examine identified differences in the DNA of people suffering from schizophrenia in stress models. This research will help us to identify mechanisms that lead to schizophrenia vulnerability. Need/Problem: Schizophrenia is a heritable disorder, but it is influenced by environmental factors. One of these factors is stressful life experience. Due to ethical considerations, it is impossible to test how stress experience influences the expression of genes in neurons of persons suffering from schizophrenia.  Grant Summary: Dysregulation of [...]

11 06, 2020

Mechanisms of Brexanolone Therapeutics in Postpartum Depression | Morrow | $48,070

Mechanisms of Brexanolone Therapeutics in Postpartum Depression 2020 Award: $48,070 Depression is associated with abnormal activation of inflammatory immune signals in the blood and the brain.  We recently discovered that the endogenous steroid allopregnanolone inhibits these signals and therefore we hypothesize that this mechanism explains the therapeutic effects of the new drug Zulresso, which is a proprietary form of allopregnanolone.  We will test this idea in women with postpartum depression in hopes of discovering new ways to treat all forms of depression. Need/Problem: The first FDA-approved medication for post-partum depression is brexanolone, but it requires IV infusion for 60 hours in a medically supervised setting with oxygen monitoring. We need to understand the mechanism of action of brexanolone to allow development of a more affordable and convenient bioavailable treatment for post-partum depression. Grant Summary: We will examine whether the anti-depressant effects of brexanolone in patients with post-partum [...]

10 06, 2020

Dissection of Top-down Cortical Circuits Underlying Auditory Oddball Response, a Biomarker for Schizophrenia | Kato | $40,000

Dissection of Top-down Cortical Circuits Underlying Auditory Oddball Response, a Biomarker for Schizophrenia 2020 Award: $40,000 Hallucination, or “hearing voices” is one of the most prevalent symptoms of schizophrenia. In this project we will study how internally generated signals in the brains affect sensory processing.  Findings in the simple mouse brains provide a first step toward the understanding of circuit mechanisms underlying broad perceptual symptoms in schizophrenic patients. Need/Problem: Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects 1 in 100 individuals. Schizophrenic patients suffer from symptoms such as hallucinations (hearing voices), delusions, and disordered thinking. Grant Summary: We will study how hallucination, or hearing internally generated sounds, occurs by investigating information processing in the neural circuits within the auditory cortex Goals and Projected Outcomes: Insights into the interplay between sensory inputs and internally generated signals within the brain will [...]

10 06, 2020

A Translational Approach to Identify Biomarkers of COVID-19-related Social Stress in Healthcare Workers | Zannas & Rodriguez-Romaguera | $85,000

A Translational Approach to Identify Biomarkers of COVID-19-related Social Stress in Healthcare Workers 2020 Award: $85,000 Psychosocial stress is ubiquitous in modern societies and - especially when excessive or persistent - can lead to several psychiatric disorders, including major depressive, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety disorders. As we have all observed in the news recently, one of the most vulnerable populations in the COVID-19 pandemic is our healthcare providers. Our research will integrate human studies and preclinical mouse models of social stress to understand how persistent social stress affects this population. Need/Problem: Stress-related psychiatric disorders, including major depressive, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety disorders, are the most common mental illnesses in the United States. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) predict that the number of people suffering from [...]

9 06, 2020

Microbiome and Methylation (M&M): A Source of Information for Precision Medicine | Kimmel | $42,000

Microbiome and Methylation (M&M): A Source of Information for Precision Medicine 2020 Award: $42,000 Despite greater recognition of the need to treat Perinatal Depression and Anxiety that can affect one in five women, current treatment algorithms are still limited in the ability to personalize to individuals and the heterogenous factors that are playing a role for each woman. This project will identify profiles of the microbiome i.e., the composition and the function of the microbes that live within us and particularly in our guts, and methylation, i.e., the process by which methyl groups are added to allow for use of our genes, during the postpartum period are blueprints for the foundation of mental wellness for each woman, her child, and family. Need/Problem: Despite greater recognition of the need to treat Perinatal Depression and Anxiety that can affect one in [...]

4 06, 2020

A Pilot Study of Gender Differences in Neuroinflammation in Autism | Dichter | $50,000

A Pilot Study of Gender Differences in Neuroinflammation in Autism 2020 Award: $50,000 Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) impacts the functioning of brain regions that process social information, but the reasons for this are unclear. In this project we will examine whether inflammation in brain regions that process social information contributes to social impairments in ASD and whether there are sex differences in brain inflammation in ASD. Results will indicate whether treatments that impact inflammation may be beneficial for those with ASD. Need/Problem: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an etiologically heterogeneous disorder that affects 1 in 54 individuals and confers a lifelong burden to most affected individuals and their families. The brain basis of ASD remains poorly understood. Grant Summary: We will use combined positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain imaging to examine whether ASD [...]

4 06, 2020

Identifying the Role of Parental Traits in Explaining Phenotypic Variability in Children with Neurogenetic Developmental Disorders: towards early individualized intervention | Girault | $39,718

Identifying the Role of Parental Traits in Explaining Phenotypic Variability in Children with Neurogenetic Developmental Disorders: towards early individualized intervention 2020 Award: $39,718 Children with genetic syndromes affecting brain development are at substantially increased risk for neuropsychiatric disorders, but symptom variability has hindered the development of effective treatments. In this project, we will determine whether family genetic background can explain symptom variability in children with neurogenetic disorders. Identifying cost-effective predictors of specific areas of risk is critical in guiding the development of personalized early interventions. Need/Problem: Children diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome are at substantially increased risk for developing neuropsychiatric disorders including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Despite a known genetic cause for each syndrome, substantial clinical variability exists among children with both syndromes, suggesting an important role for genetic background in shaping [...]