Projects conducted by faculty affiliated with the IMHR range from behavioral studies of hormones and genes to clinical trials involving newly developed and innovative treatments. Below we describe several ongoing studies. These represent a cross-section of work that occurs at the IMHR. In each instance, faculty are engaged in research that either directly or indirectly furthers understanding of the causes or treatment of mental health issues.
- Reduction of depression via cognitive bias manipulation (CBM): We are conducting a study to determine whether CBM improves depressive symptoms and changes function of neural circuitry involved in the processing of emotion among people with Major Depressive Disorder. PIs: Drs. Beevers and Schnyer.
- Genetic associations with reward and punishment processing: The overall goal of this project is to test specific hypotheses regarding dopaminergic and serotonergic genetic variation on reflexive and reflective reward and punishment processing in healthy and substance misuse populations. PIs: Drs. Maddox and Beevers.
- First responders project: Examines whether neuroendocrine factors, such as testosterone and cortisol, interact with environmental factors to predict adjustment to stressful environments among first responders (EMTs and paramedics). PI: Dr. Josephs.
- Emotion processing in Autism: The primary aim is to examine how high-functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorders process ambiguous emotional expressions and whether social experiences influence recognition of ambiguous emotional information. PI: Dr. Neal.
- Neural substrates of biased emotion processing: This project identifies neural activity using fMRI that contribute to difficulty with disengagement of attention from emotion stimuli in depressed and depression vulnerable individuals. PI: Dr. Schnyer.
- Genetic predictors of response to internet-based psychotherapy: Examines whether genetic information can be used to predict response to an internet-based treatment for depression. PI: Dr. Beevers.
Research projects associated with the IMHR have been generously funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Department of Defense, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD), and the University of Texas at Austin.