McLean Hospital 115 Mill Street Belmont, MA 02478
Jennifer T. Sneider, PhD, focuses her research on the role of the hippocampus, with a particular interest in characterizing sex differences and the role of the menstrual cycle on hippocampal-based memory function. She has received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to apply magnetic resonance imaging techniques to explore the role of the hippocampus in marijuana dependence, and has also conducted studies in emerging adult binge drinkers and healthy developing teens.
Dr. Sneider is a recent recipient of a NARSAD Young Investigator Award (Brain & Behavior Research Foundation) to examine brain chemistry, brain activation, and cognition relative to clinical mood measures in depressed and healthy women.
Dr. Sneider investigates the neurobiology of the brain, with a particular focus on the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory, spatial navigation, and learning. Her current work uses non-invasive magnetic resonance techniques to examine brain structure, function, and neurochemistry. Neurobiological measures are examined relative to cognitive ability and clinical indicators of mood and anxiety. Working at the McLean Imaging Center and McLean’s Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, Dr. Sneider has engaged in a wide range of studies, including investigations into sex differences, spatial memory, brain development, binge drinking, and depression.
Previously, Dr. Sneider has explored the role of the hippocampus in relation to learning and memory in a variety of patient populations, including chronic cannabis users, emerging adult binge drinkers, patients with major depressive disorder, and healthy adolescents and adults. Through a NIDA-funded R03 grant (ISTART), she and her colleagues examined brain activation changes in the hippocampus associated with cannabis use, employing the virtual water maze task adapted for use with fMRI.
As a member of the Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health directed by Dr. Marisa Silveri, Dr. Sneider contributed to the lab’s ongoing work by using a virtual analogue of the classic Morris Water Task (MWT) to examine relationships between performance and hippocampal function and neurochemistry. She continues to develop applications of the virtual MWT for offline behavioral testing and online use during fMRI.
In addition, Dr. Sneider has served as co-investigator on three NIH-funded studies to examine the effects of binge alcohol use (R01) and alcohol dependence (R21) on hippocampal function and learning and memory performance, as well as a longitudinal R01 to examine biomarkers for the initiation of alcohol use in adolescents. In all of these studies, her role was to provide expertise in characterizing sex differences and the role of the menstrual cycle.
Dr. Sneider was the recipient of a NARSAD Young Investigator Award (Brain & Behavior Research Foundation), which examined brain chemistry, functional activation, and cognition relative to clinical mood measures in depressed and healthy women. Recently, she has engaged in investigations of women with depression. Using a memory task, she and her colleagues have sought to determine the impact of depression on brain function and brain chemistry in women with depression.
Sneider JT, Hamilton, DA, Cohen-Gilbert JE, Crowley DJ, Rosso, IM, Silveri MM. Sex differences in spatial navigation and perception in human adolescents and emerging adults. Behavioural Processes 2015;111: 42-50.
Silveri MM, Dager AD, Cohen-Gilbert JE, Sneider JT. Neurobiological signatures associated with alcohol and drug use in the human adolescent brain. Special Issue: Adolescent Brain, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 2016;70: 244-259.
Sneider JT, Cohen-Gilbert J, Hamilton DA, Stein E, Golan N, Oot EN, Seraikas A, Rohan ML, Harris SK, Nickerson LD, Silveri MM. Adolescent hippocampal and prefrontal brain activation during performance of the virtual Morris water task. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 2018;12:238.
Belmont campus - McLean Imaging Center, Room 150