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Center for Neurobehavioral Research Awarded Grant

Identification of neural and endocrinological biomarkers in posttraumatic stress disorder

Dr. Stuart White, Ph.D. has been awarded a Research Career Program grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. White is the Director of the Decision-Making Research Program at Boys Town National Research Hospital’s Center for Neurobehavioral Research. The grant, totaling over $450,000 over 4 years, will examine the relationship between hormone levels and neural functioning in youth with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is associated with disruption in emotional response to threat cues and in emotion regulation, as well as increased levels of testosterone. Increased testosterone is associated with increased emotional response to threat cues in the environment and decreases in emotion regulation. However, the way in which the interactions between testosterone and neural functioning might contribute to PTSD is unclear.

The grant will fund Dr. White, an expert in neural dysfunction underpinning mental illness, to develop skills in hormone research sufficient to address this question. Upon completion of the grant, Dr. White will be well positioned to expand this approach to understanding other mental health and behavioral problems faced by youth, including youth served by the Boys Town Family Home Program and In-Home Family Services.