The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program in the Division of Psychology within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine organizes their research labs into the following Research Emphases:
Burns Lab (NOT Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This research lab exploits the potential of mobile mental health interventions to provide real-time outreach and feedback to youth in their unique environments, and overcome barriers to traditional psychotherapy in hidden, underserved communities. Face-to-face and purely Internet mental health interventions require patient initiation of most components. The burden is on the patient, who is often experiencing amotivation or avoidance symptoms, to make and keep appointments, complete homework, report difficulties to a provider, or log onto a website. It is thus unsurprising that these are all junctures at which mental health services are commonly interrupted or discontinued. Our lab integrates new technologies with behavioral principles to address these gaps in care and improve on the efficacy of existing treatments. The Burns lab works to understand the impact of stigmatization and related cognitive appraisals on mental health, perceptions of social support, and relationship quality among sexual minority individuals. Finally, the Burns Lab examines the relationship between co-occurring psychiatric disorders and physical and mental health outcomes in populations facing psychosocial stressors (e.g., homelessness, chronic illness). The lab is also developing an intervention that uses advances in development of unified protocols to deliver concurrent treatment for anxiety and depression among sexual minority youth.
Nicotine Dependence (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This research lab incorporates treatment, human laboratory, and genetic epidemiologic methods to identify psychological and biological factors associated with the development and persistence of nicotine dependence. The primary goal is to inform the development of innovative psychological and pharmacological smoking cessation therapies. Current research focuses on the neurobehavioral regulation of cigarette cravings and smoking behavior in smokers with and without chronic depression, and an effectiveness trial of maintenance therapy for nicotine dependence.
Primary Mentor:Brian Hitsman, PhD
Center for Psychosocial Research in Gastroenterology (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
The Center for Psychosocial Research in GI (CPR-GI) promotes and develops behavioral self-management skills for individuals who have gastrointestinal conditions for which there is no cure. Dr. Keefer's students participate in NIH-funded clinical and pre-clinical trials in functional gastrointestinal disorders and inflammatory bowel diseases. Most recently, students have been selected as training grant candidates to become independent GI-Psychology researchers through a T32 award through the National Institutes of Digestive Diseases and Kidney.
Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This multidisciplinary Center integrates behavioral science, information and communications technologies, and clinical intervention research to develop and evaluate behavioral intervention technologies that promote physical and mental health through behavior change. Examples of current NIH-funded projects include the development and evaluation of internet and social networking interventions to improve symptom management among cancer survivors, novel mobile phone and internet technologies to treat depression in adults and prevent depression in adolescents, and mobile, home-based technologies that link to electronic health records to improve medication adherence for individuals with depression, schizophrenia, and HIV.
Wellness and Health Enhancement Engineering Laboratory (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
The Wellness and Health Enhancement Engineering Lab (WHEEL), focuses on improving health and wellness systems, and technologies using user-centered design and usability engineering approaches. The lab's mission is to conduct exploratory, experimental and field research involving human interaction with computers, technologies and systems. The majority of our projects involve understanding persuasion, emotion and trust in health information technologies (HIT), consumer health information technologies and technology mediated collaboration in health (patient to patient, patient to provider and provider to provider).
Health Promotion & Evidence-Based Practice (Not Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This lab focuses on health promotion, risk behaviors (e.g., cigarette smoking, poor quality diet, inactivity, obesity, stress, depression), behavioral interventions, evidence-based practices, and E-technology. The overarching goal of the research is to develop health promotion interventions that retain the efficacy of individual intensive behavioral treatments while attaining the reach, reduced cost, and impact of population-based interventions. A current research emphasis concerns identifying optimal ways to modify several unhealthy behaviors at a time (for example, high saturated fat, low fruits and vegetables, low physical activity, high “screen time”). Another emphasis involves using electronic technology to extend the reach of behavioral interventions. Other research interests concern health disparities, food “addiction,” and comorbid depression.
Primary Mentor: Bonnie Spring, PhD
Health Literacy & Learning Program (HeLP) (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
The Health Literacy and Learning Program (HeLP) both 1) explores the cognitive, psychosocial, and health system factors that affect an individual’s ability to successfully manage one’s health, and 2) develops interventions to help patients and families obtain, process, and understand health information to make appropriate health decisions and adopt recommended behaviors. Active HeLP research projects includes epidemiological investigations of patients’ ability to perform common health tasks (i.e. prescription and over-the-counter drug use, blood pressure monitoring, healthcare navigation, provider-patient communication), and clinical trials testing innovative strategies to promote health behaviors (i.e. medication adherence, diabetes and hypertension self-management). HeLP sits at the intersect of health communication and behavior, patient safety, health equity, and meaningful use of health technologies (i.e. electronic health records, mobile technologies, internet, multimedia).
Clinical Neuropsychology (NOT Recruiting for 2014-2015)
The Clinical Neuropsychology lab is directed by Dr. Sandra Weintraub. Dr. Weintraub’s lab is within the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC) and focuses on studies of cognition in “normal” aging, “SuperAging” (better than normal cognitive functioning in the elderly), and age-associated dementias, such as those caused by Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Current studies address behavioral, genetic and neuroimaging markers of these conditions, risk factors for healthy and diseased cognitive aging (including the relationship between sleep and memory loss), and the relationship between cognitive deficits and neuropathology at post mortem brain autopsy. One of the key areas in which students are conducting research is the clinical syndrome of primary progressive aphasia. This disorder is characterized by the insidious onset and progressive loss over time of language function (aphasia) due to neurodegenerative disease that targets the left cerebral hemisphere neuroanatomical network underlying normal language function. Findings from this lab have been published in top neurology and neuropsychology journals, and have spanned neuropathology, neurolinguistics, structural and functional neuroimaging, genetic risk factors and the impact of disease on patients and their caregivers. Cross-lab collaborations in Chicago and Evanston permit students to broaden the translational value of research.
Cognitive Neuroimaging in Aging and Dementia (NOT Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This lab is directed by Dr. Rogalski. Dr. Rogalski’s lab within the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC) focuses on structural neuroimaging related to cognitive systems in healthy aging and disease. Her studies investigate the relationship between cognitive mechanisms of language and memory and structural brain changes that accompany aging and dementia. Training in her lab provides students with skills for image analysis and synthesis of brain structure and function.
Forensic Neuropsychology (NOT Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This lab is directed by Drs. Robert Hanlon and Michael Brook, and is focused on forensic neuropsychology and neurocriminology - areas of research which involve the application of neuropsychological theory and methods to the understanding of the root causes of violent aggression and criminal behavior. Specific projects in the lab address: 1) examining neuropsychological functioning in homicide offenders, 2) exploring relationships between neurocognition, emotion processing, psychopathy, and violent behavior; and 3) development of comprehensive violence risk assessment instruments. Students in our lab choose Clinical Neuropsychology as their clinical emphasis and have a strong interest in applying their clinical and research skills in the forensic arena.
Laboratory of Cognitive Control and Clinical Neuroscience (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This lab focuses on understanding how cognitive control processes — those processes that help guide thought and behavior based on internally generated goals — are altered in individuals with or at risk for various forms of psychopathology. We use translational laboratory and fMRI approaches adopted from the cognitive neurosciences to study the functional neural networks involved in the control of attention, working memory, and behavioral responding and how these are altered in individuals with psychopathology (primarily schizophrenia and affective psychoses) and those at genetic or clinical risk for such disorders, as well as the impact of pharmacological treatments on these networks. Students in our lab have the opportunity to learn diagnostic and clinical assessment procedures of severe psychopathology, standard neuropsychological methods for evaluating cognitive functioning, and laboratory and fMRI based acquisition and analysis of neurophysiologic data.
Primary Mentor: James Reilly, PhD
Smith Lab (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This lab focuses on using neuroimaging techniques to study a) how cannabis use influences the structure and function of cognition and reward/motivation neurocircuitry and b) the relationship between social cognition (with an emphasis on empathy) and community-based functioning. The lab is also interested in developing and evaluating the efficacy, effectiveness, and implementation of virtual reality interventions that target job interview skills and social cognition for adults with schizophrenia or autism.
Primary Mentor: Matthew Smith, PhD
Neuroimaging & Applied Computational Anatomy (NIACAL) (NOT Recruiting for 2014-2015)
Our lab’s research is focused on the development of multidimensional and multimodal neuroimaging biomarkers using the tools of computational anatomy. Working with collaborators from engineering, mathematics, psychology and clinical specialties, we focus on the following major areas: 1. Mapping of Brain Structures using MRI: We develop automated pipelines to delineate brain structures based on simultaneous mappings of multiple structures from multiple atlases. This includes deep brain structures (such as the hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, and basal ganglia) and cortical structures. 2. Complex Neuroimaging Biomarkers: We develop modeling and statistical approaches for the analysis of these maps. We develop frameworks for joint, integrated analyses of multidimensional, multimodal information based on the structural mapping of the brain. 3. Clinical Applications: We are interested in developing neuroimaging markers to characterize neuropsychiatric disorders, disease progression and prediction, and monitoring of treatment. 4. Neuroinformatics: Data sharing and data mediation. 5. Preclinical Applications: Neuroimaging of Animal Models.
Primary Mentor: Lei Wang, PhD
Neuroimaging and Applied Computational Anatomy Lab
Health Disparities and Public Policy (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
The Health Disparities and Public Policy program provides opportunities to study the health needs and outcomes of special populations, for example, those who have been involved in the criminal justice systems. We focus on gender and race/ethnicity, examining the development and persistence of psychiatric disorders; disparities in risk and protective factors associated with psychiatric disorders; and related outcomes such as social role attainment, recidivism and HIV/AIDS. The program’s current study is the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a large-scale federally-funded longitudinal investigation of mental health needs and outcomes of 1829 delinquent youth, enrolled between 1995 and 1998. Since enrollment, we track and re-interview participants as they age. Prior studies examined crime victimization of persons with severe psychiatric disorders who lived in the community and mental health needs and patterns of service utilization of jail detainees. Overall, our mission is to provide empirical data on populations that are seldom investigated, information that will help improve services for traditionally underserved populations. Our studies have been cited in Supreme Court amicus briefs, in congressional hearings, in recent reports of the Surgeon General, and by many federal agencies, private agencies, and advocacy groups.
Mental Health Services & Policy Program (MHSPP) (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
Faculty and students investigate how to assess and address mental health, trauma, and child welfare needs in the community. Our unique relationships with multiple state and federal agencies and court systems allow students to examine program and policy efficacy using data from the child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice sectors. Through research, coursework, and practicum opportunities, MHSPP prepares students to contribute as researchers to policy and administrative decisions within the public sector. For the coming year, MHSPP is interested in applicants to the Clinical Psychology PhD program whose interests align with the areas identified above, or individuals interested in Northwestern’s JD/PhD program who wish to focus on legal and/or policy issues associated with children who receive services in the public sector.
Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This Center is directed by Dr. Hendrics Brown. We seek to learn what the goal, opportunities, and capacities are of communities, institutions and agencies around prevention programs designed to reduce drug abuse, HIV infection, and sexual risk behavior. This information is critical to our Center’s planning to address the needs in the practice of, as well as research on prevention implementation over the next five years and beyond. To facilitate successful program implementation and evaluation at the federal, state, county, and local levels, the Center is developing new methods for improving implementation in communities as well as new methods for conducting implementation research, quality improvement, and evaluation in practice settings. Our methodologic tools include many of the new “system science” approaches that address the complex, interacting and multilevel factors that affect program implementation, program quality, and ultimate impact on communities. These system science methods include social network analysis, agent based modeling, and intelligent data analysis. Our team collaborates and consults on implementation projects that are funded or being planned, as well as providing training to diverse groups engaged in implementation. We also provide opportunities for early career investigators to receive mentoring in this new field of implementation science, and the Center provides funding for pilot projects on a competitive basis. We also provide opportunities for postdoctoral fellowships and collaborations with leading prevention implementation researchers across the country.
Translational Research on Stress and Affective Disorders Laboratory (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
The Translational Research on Stress and Affective Disorders Laboratory is dedicated to translating methods and data from basic science on models of emotion to develop new treatment approaches for emotional disorders. Neuroscience research is defining the neural structure and circuitry of major depressive disorder in ways that are highly relevant to predicting individual differences in response to psychotherapy. Translation of basic affective neuroscience research to identify brain mechanisms of affective processing will help us identify predictors of treatment response for mood disorders.
The Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Lab (NOT Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This lab is directed by Dr. Molly Losh. Research in the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Laboratory investigates the language and related abilities that define autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities, and the neuropsychological, genetic, and environmental features that may be associated with the behavioral and cognitive profiles of these different groups. Specific study goals include: 1) To understand the different developmental strengths and weaknesses in language and related abilities in autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities; 2) To define subtle language and neuropsychological profiles that may relate to the genes involved in autism and fragile X syndrome, among unaffected relatives; 3) to document the interactions between genes and environment in neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Child and Adolescent Mood Laboratory (Undecided if Recruiting for 2014-2015)
Our lab focuses on understanding the ways in which cognitive, social, environmental, and biological factors interact over the course of development in placing youth at risk for depression and suicide, and on developing evidence-based treatments for childhood depression. Our work then sits, at the interface of the developmental psychopathology and cognitive-behavioral therapy literatures. We are very interested in CBT for depression and in understanding predictors, moderators, and mediators of clinical improvement.
Primary Mentor: Mark Reinecke, PhD, ABPP, ACT
Practice-Based Clinical Science Lab (Recruiting for 2014-2015)
This lab focuses on data obtained in naturalistic clinial environments. Working in conjunction with a large behavioral health hospital and system, I leverage both existing clinical data and large patient populations to examine novel topics in the areas of nonsuicidal self-injury, depression, and eating disorders. I am also interested in dissemination and use of clinical outcomes in routine practice, as well as implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practices.
Primary Mentor: Jason J. Washburn, PhD, ABPP