Claire Kaplan receives NSF fellowship

The National Science Foundation has awarded a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship to Claire Kaplan, a second year graduate student in the laboratory. This will provide three years of support for her exciting program of neuropsychopharmacology research.

It’s common knowledge that a drink or two reduces anxiety. While the molecular underpinnings of this anti-anxiety effect is well established, remarkably little is known about the brain networks that mediate the anxiety-reducing effects of alcohol or other widely used anxiolytic medications. Claire’s work aims to address this fundamental question. Her on-going research is focused on establishing the influence of different doses of alcohol on the function of brain circuits implicated in fear and anxiety. Another project, still in design stages, will focus on the impact of the benzodiazepines, a drug commonly prescribed for patients suffering from extreme anxiety. This program of research promises important new insights into the mechanisms that support pathological anxiety and contribute to the development of addiction. Ultimately, it promises to inform the development of more precise treatments for a range of common, often debilitating mental illnesses.

Claire’s research builds on the strengths of an international team of scientific collaborators, including Dr. Jason Smith, in the Department of Psychology at Maryland; Dr. Luiz Pessoa, Director of the Maryland Neuroimaging Center; Dr. John Curtin, in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin; and Dr. Siri Leknes, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

3/30/2016 | College Park, MD USA