With a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, my research and clinical interests have concentrated on stressors and impaired self-regulatory behaviors that both predate and maintain substance use disorders with an emphasis on sex differences. During my postdoctoral training, in order to obtain a more mechanistic account of the neurobiological factors underlying the cycle of drug addiction (e.g., neural substrates, impulsivity, stress, decision-making), and continue my clinical training, I elected to immerse myself in a translational clinical research training program with a particular goal of developing expertise in the analysis of functional and structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data. I have explored the structural and functional abnormalities underlying dysregulated behavior and emotion processing individuals with substance use and/or anger/aggression related disorders. Utilizing these neuroimaging modalities, in tandem with examining behavioral indices utilizing laboratory-based paradigms and traditional neuropsychological assessments, I have been able to probe the sequelae of addiction-related cognitive impairment.
My personal research interests focus on the neurobiological processes of clinically relevant constructs and vulnerabilities associated with risk-taking behaviors (ie. substance abuse and impulsive/reactive aggression in humans) centered on the following complementary domains with a focus on sex-differences: 1) premorbid behavioral and neurobiological/psychological risk-factors implicated in the developmental trajectories of addiction, 2) the contribution of stress to impulsive drug seeking/aggressive behavior, and ultimately 3) the integration of brain structure and function to provide a mechanistic framework for the development of short, targeted interventions designed to reduce stress-induced craving and relapse.