Irina Esterlis, PhD

Associate Professor Term; Director, Molecular Imaging Program, NCPTSD, VA; Director, Mood, Anxiety, and Cognitive Sciences Division

Research Departments & Organizations

Psychiatry: Center for Nicotine and Tobacco Use Research at Yale (CENTURY) | Cosgrove Lab Collaborators | Division of Women's Behavioral Health Research | Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP) | Psychology Section | Translational Brain Imaging Program | VA National Center for PTSD | Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

WHRY Pilot Project Program Investigators

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Interests

Chemicals and Drugs; Molecular Imaging; Mood Disorders; Psychiatry; Radiology; Tobacco

Research Summary

There is a high comorbidity between psychiatric illness and tobacco smoking, with common denominator of cognitive difficulties. The goal of our research is to examine the neurochemical changes, tested by PET brain imaging or Magnetic Resonance techniques, associated with mood disorders and comorbid tobacco addiction and the underlying cognitive decrements. We aim to determine specific systems, such as the nicotinic and glutamatergic, that may be a target for new pharmacotherapies to aid in alleviating mood and cognitive difficulties, and thus aiding with smoking cessation.

Specialized Terms: Neuroreceptor imaging; Mood disorders; Tobacco addiction

Extensive Research Description

Examination of the beta2-nAChR system in bipolar depression and relevance to the persistent tobacco smoking.

Imaging glutamatergic system in depression via PET and MRS to determine role of glutamate and mGluR5 in depression and associated cognitive difficulties.

Imaging ACh changes in the brain in living humans.

Clinical Trials

Conditions Study Title
Diseases of the Nervous System, Mental Health & Behavioral Research Neurofeedback of Amygdala Activity for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Diseases of the Nervous System, Mental Health & Behavioral Research Examination of Glutamate and mGluR5 in Psychiatric Disorders
Mental Health & Behavioral Research, Tobacco Addiction Imaging Tobacco Smoking Withdrawal using [11C]PHNO
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Imaging 11B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase availability in vivo
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Evaluation of glutamate levels in adolescent mood disorders
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Imaging Microglial Activation in PTSD wITH PET
Diseases of the Nervous System, Genetics - Adult, Genetics - Pediatric, Mental Health & Behavioral Research Brain Emotion Circuitry-Targeted Self-Monitoring and Regulation Therapy (BE-SMART)
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Imaging mGluR5 and synaptic density in psychiatric disorders
Addictive Behaviors, Alcohol Addiction, Mental Health & Behavioral Research, Tobacco Addiction Determining Eligibility for Neuroimaging Research Studies
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Brain Imaging and Function
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Imaging SV2A in mood disorders
Diseases of the Nervous System, Mental Health & Behavioral Research Biomarkers of Clinical Subtype and Treatment Response in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Addictive Behaviors PET Imaging of mGLuR5 With Drug Challenge
Mental Health & Behavioral Research, Tobacco Addiction Acetylcholine, Tobacco Smoking, Genes and Nicotinic Receptors (nic_physo)

Selected Publications

See list of PubMed publications

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