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Gruner Awarded Inaugural Bowers Prize

July 21, 2021

Patricia Gruner, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, has been awarded the inaugural Bowers Prize by the Hartford Hospital Research Committee.

Gruner, a clinical psychologist who studies obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders, conducts research through the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at Hartford Hospital.

In its first year, the Bowers Prize -- funded by the Bowers family – supports a project by a researcher whose work is deemed particularly important to the Bowers family and awards committee.

Gruner will examine how transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may effect therapeutic change in OCD. “We are seeking to learn more about how TMS may effect change in OCD when applied to the orbitofrontal cortex/ Brodmann area 10 (OFC/BA10), a region known to be involved in OCD pathology,” she said. “This region is close to the cortical surface, allowing more precision and reliability of stimulation than deeper brain regions."

Gruner’s collaborators include Drs. Vaughn Steele, Michael Stevens, David Tolin, and Godfrey Pearlson.

Through her research, Gruner strives to understand how cognitive processes are altered in the course of OCD and how these processes relate to both aberrations in neurobiological functioning and symptomatology.

“In particular, I endeavor to integrate the clinical knowledge I acquired early on as a psychologist treating patients with OCD with the knowledge that I have gained and continue to acquire studying the cognitive and neurobiological abnormalities present in this disorder,” she said. “My goal is to utilize this knowledge to create and refine interventions that directly target the deficits most central to pathology.”

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on July 21, 2021