The Tulane University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is a leader in clinical research that covers the developmental lifespan with investigators from multiple disciplines and a history of groundbreaking clinical research. We offer a wide range of sites, mentors, and unique training opportunities for young researchers. Training and support are provided at all levels of training including students, residents, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty. We are committed to research that understands the underpinnings of complex mental issues and develops new treatments.
Michael Scheeringa, MD
Vice Chair of Research
Computer-Based Training to Modify Negative Cognitive Biases and Irritability
(5/30/19) Rebecca Lynch, PhD, Research Postdoctoral Fellow, launched her new pilot study at the Tulane University Behavioral Health Clinic – Metairie to address the common clinical problem of irritability. Dr. Lynch created a computer-based training task to shift interpretations of facial affect to be more positive. Using this task, she will examine whether irritability is associated with a biased tendency to interpret ambiguous social information as hostile, and whether this training task can shift both patients’ biases and their levels of irritability.
Default Mode Network Associations with Risk Taking and Impulsivity
(5/2/19) Jeffrey Rouse, MD, presented his poster Default Mode Network Functional Connectivity Correlates of Individual Differences in Risk Taking and Impulsivity at the Cognitive Neurosciences Society on March 25, 2019 in San Francisco. Secondary analyses of fMRI data from the Nathan-Kline Institute showed novel associations of DMN connectivity to multiple regions of the brain. He was also a secondary author on three other posters.
K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Award for Dr. Mikolajewski
(4/5/19) Amy Mikolajewski, PhD received notice several weeks ago that she has been awarded a K23 award, which is a five-year mentored award to develop young investigators. Her project, Psychophysiology and Social Processes in Very Young Children With Externalizing Problems, is a $540,000 study being funded by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. Her study will break new ground for understanding the subtypes and different trajectories of very young children with disruptive behaviors.
National Award for Best Research Paper
(2/27/19) Stacy Drury, MD (pictured) received the 2018 AACAP Norbert and Charlotte Rieger Award for Scientific Achievement recognizing the most significant article by a child and adolescent psychiatrist in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry in the past year (Gray, Jones, Theall, Glackin, & Drury. Thinking Across Generations: Unique Contributions of Maternal Early Life and Prenatal Stress to Infant Physiology, 56). This marks the third time Tulane has won this award following Michael Scheeringa (2003) and Mary Margaret Gleason (2011).
Research on Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children
(12/19/18) Oppositional defiant disorder is one of the most common reasons parents seek psychiatric care for young children, but it is known that there can be widely different outcomes as these children grow older. Amy Mikolajewski, PhD (pictured) is breaking new ground in a pilot study to better understand this heterotypic continuity. Studying clinic-referred 4- to 12-year old children, she is examining three different dimensions of ODD - irritability, defiance, and vindictiveness – along dimensions of autonomic arousal, attentional bias for emotion recognition, and symptom profiles.
Recommendations for Telomere Research
(11/29/18) Stacy Drury, MD (pictured) and Kyle Esteves co-authored an important overview of methods for research with telomeres. Noting the growing interest in telomere biology across biomedical, epidemiological and public health research, it is critical to ensure that the measurement of telomere length is performed with high precision and accuracy. They provided guidance and called for improved methodological rigor. The article, “Telomere length measurement by qPCR – Summary of critical factors and recommendations for assay design,” was published in Psychoneuroendocrinology 99:217-278.
Training Providers About Opioid Treatment
(11/1/18) Tulane Psychiatry received nearly $2 million for a two-year project to implement a Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model using a hub-and-spoke method to train primary care providers around the state on opioid treatment. This is a piece of an $11.7 million award to the Louisiana State Office of Behavioral Health, which is part of SAMHSA’s $930 million initiative to fund State Opioid Response Grants to address the opioid crisis. Tulane’s project is directed by J. Kevin Massey, MS (pictured), and includes Chairman John Thompson, MD
Multi-Site Collaboration Funded to Treat Pediatric PTSD
(9/19/18) Devi Murphy, PhD (pictured) and Michael Scheeringa, MD are part of a new $2,958,550 project funded by NIH to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following hospitalization for injuries. The University of Utah leads the multi-site collaboration, which includes Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University of Texas - Houston. They will test cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for PTSD in 8 to 16 year-old youths to be used online with therapist support. Dr. Murphy leads Tulane’s component to train project clinicians on CBT.
Groundbreaking Study on Attachment in Older Children
(8/2/18) Katherine Guyon-Harris, PhD was the lead author on the first longitudinal follow-up of attachment status from early childhood through 12 years. One-hundred twenty-four children with a history of institutional care from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project were included in the study, which showed that foster care was associated with steep reductions in reactive attachment disorder (RAD) symptoms, while longer time in institutional care was associated with elevated symptoms. Findings suggest the course of RAD is variable but influenced by early experiences.
(A prospective longitudinal study of reactive attachment disorder following early institutional care: Considering variable- and person-centered approaches. Attachment & Human Development, early online July 23, 2018)
Book Published for Parents on PTSD in Youth
(6/6/18) Michael Scheeringa, MD has authored a new book that is a guide for parents about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in youth. Published by Central Recovery Press, it's the first book on the market that covers what parents and youths need to know about PTSD from-A-to-Z while debunking the myths and demystifying the science. Dr. Scheeringa hopes it's a book that clinicians will recommend to families and professors will use in classrooms.