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
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.
New Research Postdoctoral Fellow
(5/02/18) In January 2018, Rebecca Lynch, PhD joined the department as our second Research Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Lynch received her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University. Her graduate work focused on social cognitive risk factors (e.g., perceptual biases) that contribute to externalizing problems, plus measurement of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. She plans to continue her work by focusing full-time on new methods to assess and treat clinically-important biases that underlie irritable behavior.
fMRI Functional Connectivity Associated with Emotion Regulation and Meditation
(March 28, 2018). At the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting in Boston, MA, two students working with our faculty Jeffrey Rouse, MD (pictured) presented their work. On March 24, Yush Kukreja presented a poster on resting state fMRI connectivity associated with emotion regulation. On March 25, Lauren Goodes presented her poster on resting state fMRI connectivity associated with meditation.
National Presentation on the Louisiana Child Welfare Trauma Project
(March 1, 2018) Devi Miron Murphy, PhD, will be presenting on March 5 at the 31st Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Mental Health in Tampa, FL. She will be presenting findings from our Louisiana Child Welfare Trauma Project, including her work to disseminate evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder throughout the state of Louisiana.
National Telomere Meeting Draws a Tulane Faculty
(December 15, 2017) Stacy Drury, MD, PhD, faculty in the section of child & adolescent psychiatry section, was among a select group of scientists invited to a workshop to discuss the potential of telomeres as markers of exposure to pollutants or stress. The workshop, held September 6-7, was titled, “Telomeres as Sentinels for Environmental Exposures, Psychosocial Stress, and Disease Susceptibility,” and was organized jointly by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute on Aging.
Tulane Faculty Chosen for Distinguished Presentation
(December 6, 2017) Charles Zeanah, MD, head of the child & adolescent psychiatry section, was given the prestigious honor of being chosen for the Presidential Interview at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. The interview honored Dr. Zeanah’s long career of research achievements in infant mental health, early adverse experiences, and attachment. The meeting was held October 23-28, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Developmental Modifications Needed for PTSD Criteria for 7-12 Year-Old Children
(October 11, 2017) Amy Mikolajewski, PhD investigated how changes in the DSM-5 impact diagnosis rates in 7-18 year-olds. The DSM-5 criteria appeared to be more developmentally sensitive than DSM-IV criteria, and may lead to higher prevalence rates of PTSD for 7-12 year-old children, but not for adolescents. In addition, using the very young children criteria for 7-12 year-old children further increases prevalence, and may capture children with less severe psychopathology (Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 27(4), 374-382. doi: 10.1089/cap.2016.0134).
Groundbreaking Study on Cardiac Activity, CBT, PTSD, and Youths
(August 25, 2017) The newest study from Dr. Michael Scheeringa’s lab was just published online: "Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Children: Preliminary Treatment and Gender Effects" in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Rebecca Lipschutz, MS (pictured), who is now at the University of Houston, was first author. You can view the full text free online for a limited time at http://rdcu.be/vgIm