McLean Hospital – 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478
Poornima Kumar, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an assistant neuroscientist at McLean Hospital. Her research interests focus on investigating the mechanisms through which humans learn and process reinforcements (both rewards and punishments) and how these processes might contribute to psychiatric disorders, particularly depression. She utilizes computational modeling and multimodal imaging techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to better understand the clinical and neurobiological correlates of reinforcement learning.
Core features of depression are anhedonia (loss of pleasure) and negative bias (excessive attention and memory for negative events). These deficits might to be due to abnormal reinforcement learning. Dr. Kumar’s main research objective is to build a mechanistic model of these deficits and characterize novel therapeutic interventions. In addition, she is also interested in identifying risk factors of depression.
Belmont campus - de Marneffe Building, Room 233A