Making Interdisciplinary Team Science Connections: Bio-Psychosocial Factors and Mental Illness

These presentations are the first in a series to help facilitate collaborations by connecting scientists with methodological, content, or other expertise needed to complete current or future projects.

When Oct 18, 2016
from 03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Brinkhous-Bullitt, room 219
Contact Name
Contact Phone 919-843-2883
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Each of these presenters has a project for which additional expertise is needed. Is it possible that you are that person? Do you think you might know people in your research network who can help them? If so, please join us! There will be a 10-15-minute presentation followed by a 5-minute Q&A for each speaker. After the presentations are over there will be time to talk with the speakers individually or network with other attendees.

Aysenil Belger, PhD
Professor and Director of Neuroimaging Research
UNC Department of Psychiatry
Professor, Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center


Neurobiological Substrates of Stress Effects On Adolescent Brain and Cognition

Adolescence is a critical period of brain maturation.  It is also a critical period for life changes that expose individuals to psychosocial stressors, including peer-pressure and substance abuse. Adolescence is also a critical period of the onset of debilitating mental illness, including psychosis and mood disorders.

We are looking for researchers who can bridge us to better understand other complex factors that might contribute to the emergence of symptoms in adolescence and how these might interact with stress circuits. We are seeking collaborators who could add expertise in multiple areas to our project: understanding the impact of early childhood trauma on adolescent brain and behavior; expertise in engineering and biomedical solutions to real-time measurement of physiological responses; expertise in biostatistical modeling of complex multidimensional longitudinal data. We are also looking for collaborators who would be willing to pursue new complementary funding opportunities with us.
Hudson Santos, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, UNC School of Nursing


Understand the underlying bio-psychosocial mechanisms driving depressive processes in mothers from underserved populations

Emerging evidence shows that mood disorders can be plausibly conceptualized as networks of causally interacting symptoms rather than as latent variables where symptoms are passive indicators.

With this talk I hope to establish collaborations to apply innovative analytical techniques to advance our understanding of the underlying bio-psychosocial mechanisms driving depressive processes, including investigations of symptom-to-biomarker mechanisms, symptom-tailored interventions, and identification of early warning signals of depressive symptoms onset in mothers from underserved populations. Future directions and challenges will be discussed.  

We are seeking funding for the project. Expertise in biostatistics/psychometrics, biology and epigenetics.  The role the person would play of the proposal would be a co-investigator or methodological expert.

Desiree W Murray, PhD
Senior Research Scientist, and Associate Director of Research
Frank Porter Gram Child Development Institute


Self-regulation development strategies for early adolescents based in current developmental neuroscience

A significant number of children and adolescents exhibit social-emotional and behavioral challenges because they lack adequate cognitive and emotional self-regulation skills, which can lead to school failure, involvement in the juvenile justice system, and long-term negative health effects. 

Collaborators with expertise in translating basic developmental neuroscience into intervention strategies and in measuring effects of self-regulation strategies on neurobiological processes and health-related outcomes would be helpful.  

“The Bio-Psychosocial Factors and Mental Illness Interest group is an interactive community of scholars—faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows and staff—who pool their talents to achieve a new level of excellence in understanding adolescent brain and behavior and implementation of new policy and actions."

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