As a predoctoral candidate, my dissertation research focused on the functional neural circuitry underlying dual-diagnosis substance use disorders (SUD) with other psychiatric disorders – primarily depression and PTSD. I used resting-state and task fMRI to identify altered functional connectivity in the brains of individuals with dual-diagnoses compared to individuals with either disorder type alone. Elaborating on those findings, I studied the relationship between childhood trauma and the uniquely altered functional connectivity in individuals with dual-diagnoses. I then used machine learning to classify the resting-state fMRI of individuals with psychiatric disorders vs. individuals without psychopathology.
I am currently working with Ben Kelmendi, MD to study the neurobiology underlying the therapeutic effect of psilocybin on OCD by applying my skill set in neuroimaging and machine learning to brain scans pre and post psilocybin administration. I plan to apply similar techniques to study the potential therapeutic effect of psychedelics on substance use disorders (SUD). Clinically I am interested in addiction and community psychiatry, and working to develop community-based models for the prevention and maintenance of SUD. In pursuit of this goal, I am additionally studying how psychedelics can be developed in an equitable manner, so that as they become available to the general public, they will be accessible and affordable for all people. I am involved in both science and mental health advocacy and have experience advocating at both the local and national level through organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Society for Neuroscience. In my free time I like to paint, hike, kayak, cook, and read/ watch all things sci-fi.