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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Ananda B. Amstadter, PhD

Dr. Amstadter is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of traumatic stress and psychiatric genetics. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Auburn University in 2008. She spent the last two years of her doctoral program at MUSC, as a predoctoral fellow on the Center for Drug and Alcohol Program’s NIAAA T32, and later on the National Crime Victims Center’s NIMH T32 while she completed her psychology internship. She then joined the faculty of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. In 2010 she moved to Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Human Genetics. She has published 110 manuscripts and book chapters in the area of traumatic stress, psychopathology, and genetics. In addition to being PI on an NIAAA R01, she has been PI or Co-I on 8 NIH grants, and she serves as a consultant on numerous other awards from the VA and NIH. Dr. Amstadter also serves as the primary mentor for an NIAAA K awardee, a NARSAD Young Investigator Award, and a NIDA F31 awardee. She also is a standing member of the CSR&D Study Section for the VA, and she serves as Ad Hoc Review for NIH on numerous panels.

Dr. Amstadter’s program of research broadly focuses on understanding factors that effect post-trauma trajectory of symptoms among individuals exposed to a variety of potentially traumatic events (e.g., disasters, combat exposure, interpersonal violence). To that end, most of her research focuses on the identification of risk and resiliency factors, biologic and psychosocial in nature, for traumatic-stress related conditions, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorders. Her translational program of research weds biological substrates (e.g., molecular genetics, epigenetics, neuroendocrine reactivity) with behavioral outcomes (e.g., mental health phenotypes, distress tolerance, risk taking propensity) through the use of a variety of research methodologies and through interdisciplinary collaborations.
At the completion of this session, the participant will be able to:
1.  Describe the state of knowledge on the behavioral and molecular genetics research on posttraumatic
     stress disorder.
2.  Discuss how traumatic stress may affect health via epigenetic pathways.

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