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McLean researcher

Isabelle M. Rosso: Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Laboratory

The Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Laboratory conducts research on the neurobiological basis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders, hoping to inform future diagnosis and lead to new treatments for these serious and often debilitating conditions.

The lab uses brain imaging technologies to study the function, structure, and chemistry of the brain in both healthy people and patients suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and depression. We also use behavioral paradigms, including tasks that assess learning and memory, so that we can study the relationship between the brain and behavior.

Research questions of interest to our laboratory include:

  • What are the cognitive and brain mechanisms underlying the development of persistent trauma-related mental disorders such as PTSD?
  • What are the shared versus distinct brain changes across different anxiety and emotional disorders?
  • What are the neural mechanisms underlying risk and resilience for emotional disorders? For example, why do some people develop PTSD after experiencing trauma while other people do not?
  • Are there brain “markers” of risk and resilience to trauma?
  • What are the brain changes that occur during successful treatment of emotional disorders?

The Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Lab, founded in 2014, is part of the Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research (CDASR), which was established at McLean Hospital in 2010. The goal of the CDASR is to identify the biological, environmental, and psychological factors that contribute to depression and anxiety and translate those findings into new treatments.