Selected Publications

After decades of being overshadowed by the amygdala, new perspectives suggest that a tiny basal forebrain region known as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) may hold key insights into understanding and treating anxiety disorders. Converging research indicates that the amygdala and BNST play complementary but distinct functional roles during threat processing, with the BNST specializing in the detection of a potential threat to maintain hypervigilance and anxiety, while the amygdala responds to the perceived presence of an aversive stimulus (i.e., fear). Therefore, given that human anxiety is largely driven by future-oriented hypothetical threats that may never occur, studies involving the BNST stand at the forefront of essential future research with the potential to bring about profound insights for understanding and treating anxiety disorders. In this article, we present a narrative review on the BNST, summarizing its roles in anxiety and the stress response and highlighting the most recent advances in the clinical realm. Furthermore, we discuss oversights in the current state of anxiety research and identify avenues for future exploration.
Frontiers in Psychiatry, Mood and Anxiety Disorders, 2019

Recent Publications

(2019). Cortical Morphometry and Structural Connectivity Relate to Executive Function and Estradiol Level in Healthy Adolescents. Brain and Behavior.

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(2019). New Frontiers in Anxiety Research: The Translational Potential of the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

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(2019). Convergent Neural Correlates of Empathy and Anxiety during Socioemotional Processing. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

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(2017). Lifetime PTSD and Geriatric Depression Symptomatology Relate to Altered Dorsomedial Frontal and Amygdala Morphometry. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

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(2017). Reduced Lateral Prefrontal Cortical Volume is associated with Performance on the Modified Iowa Gambling Task: A Surface Based Morphometric Analysis of Previously Deployed Veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), or Co-occurring PTSD/mTBI. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

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(2013). Mastering Tricyclic Ring Systems for Desirable Functional Cannabinoid Activity. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

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Projects

Fear vs. Anxiety

Differentiating anticipatory responses from stimulus-driven reaction to understand the functional roles of the amygdala and BNST

Emotion Regulation Training

Investigating functional and structural connectivity changes related to improved regulation of negative affect

Extinction vs. Suppression

Examining overlap/dissociations between fear extinction and direct suppression mechanisms for negative memory associations

Functional Movement Disorders

Imaging connectivity changes following the Motor Retraining (MoRe) program

Eating Disorders

Pre- and Post-imaging investigation of Imaginal Exposure Therapy for the treatment of Anorexia Nervosa