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Sarah Jefferson

Instructor; NRTP, Yale Department of Psychiatry

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Sarah Jefferson


My interest in neuroscience and understanding the neurobiology of psychiatric diseases began when I worked the University of Pennsylvania for several years prior to medical school. I worked in a translational neuroscience laboratory using cell lines derived from patients with psychiatric disorders to identify disease- and treatment-specific molecular changes in glucocorticoid signaling pathways. During this time, I became particularly interested in MDD and in understanding the heterogeneous symptomatology of this disorder. As an MD-PhD candidate, my dissertation research focused on effects of GABAergic neurotransmission and subsets of GABAergic neurons on anxiety- and depression-related phenotypes using rodent models. I also studied the role of GABAergic transmission in ketamine’s rapid antidepressant effects.

Upon entering the NRTP at Yale, I became interested in the neurobiological mechanisms of psychedelics and their use as potential therapeutics for depressive disorders. I’ve been fortunate to benefit from the input of several mentors including Alex Kwan, Marina Picciotto and Al Kaye. My current work focuses on structural plasticity in the mouse frontal cortex with psychedelic compounds. I’m generally interested in the effects of psychedelics on circuits and brain regions important for depressive disorder and what drives the timescale of their clinical effects. Clinically, I am interested in interventional psychiatry and mood disorders. In my free time, I enjoy biking, rock climbing, playing touch rugby, and spoiling my two cats.

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