The principal investigator on this K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award is Jasmeet Pannu Hayes, Ph.D., a Research Associate at the Duke University Brain Imaging and Analysis Center and Durham VA Medical Center. Dr. Kevin LaBar, Associate Professor at Duke University, and Dr. Jean Beckham, VA Career Scientist, will serve as mentor and co-mentor on this award. The candidate's career development goals encompass two broad objectives that will lead to an independent research career. The first objective is to develop expertise in emotional memory research, with particular emphasis on memory alterations in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The second objective is to develop the technical skills necessary to apply advanced functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) methods including functional and effective connectivity analyses to the study of emotional memory. Two fMRI studies are proposed with the goal of examining the neural networks involved in trauma memory encoding and emotion regulation of trauma memories in PTSD. In this proposal, brain activity in Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans diagnosed with PTSD will be compared with brain activation in veterans who have also been involved in traumatic combat events, but have not developed PTSD. PTSD occurs after exposure to a traumatic event, evoking emotions of intense fear, horror, and helplessness. Symptoms of the disorder include involuntary re-experiencing of the traumatic event, numbing and avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event, and hyperarousal when exposed to internal or external cues of the traumatic event. Research of neural networks involved in the onset, maintenance, and amelioration of PTSD symptomatology will provide greater understanding of effective treatments. PTSD research is vital given the current war climate context, as greater numbers of soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and are attempting to transition into civilian life, often with great difficulty. Thus, the ultimate goal of this K23 award is to examine the connectivity of trauma memory and emotion regulation strategies that hold great promise as behavioral interventions for PTSD.

Public Health Relevance

Rates of PTSD in returning Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans are high, placing great demands on public health services. Furthermore, cognitive deficits that result from PTSD often lead to disturbances at work, as well as interpersonal difficulties with family, friends, and co-workers. Thus, insights gained from research on the neural basis of traumatic memories and their regulation has immense clinical and social value.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging Study Section (APDA)
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Chavez, Mark
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Boston University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Hayes, Jasmeet Pannu; Morey, Rajendra A; Tupler, Larry A (2012) A case of frontal neuropsychological and neuroimaging signs following multiple primary-blast exposure. Neurocase 18:258-69
Hayes, Jasmeet Pannu; LaBar, Kevin S; McCarthy, Gregory et al. (2011) Reduced hippocampal and amygdala activity predicts memory distortions for trauma reminders in combat-related PTSD. J Psychiatr Res 45:660-9
Hayes, Jasmeet Pannu; Morey, Rajendra A; Petty, Christopher M et al. (2010) Staying cool when things get hot: emotion regulation modulates neural mechanisms of memory encoding. Front Hum Neurosci 4:230