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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences ~ Research

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, MDMichael Scheeringa, MD
Vice Chair of Research



Research News

Amy Mikolajewski, PhD 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.

Stacy Drury, MDNational 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[11]). This marks the third time Tulane has won this award following Michael Scheeringa (2003) and Mary Margaret Gleason (2011).

Amy Mikolajewski, PhD

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.

Stacy Drury, MDRecommendations 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.

J. Kevin Massey, MS

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

Devi Miron Murphy, PhDMulti-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.

Jeffrey Rouse, MDfMRI 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.

Devi Miron Murphy, PhDNational 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.