Research

The Stress and Neuromodulation Lab (SNL) studies (1) the effects of stress and traumatic experiences on the brain, (2) risk factors for developing trauma-related disorders, and (3)  neuromodulation treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For a detailed description of ongoing projects, see below.


We conduct our research as part of the Grady Trauma Project. Our work is mostly concentrated on urban populations exposed to traumatic events in their daily lives and with limited access to (mental) health care. With our research we aim to improve the lives of individuals suffering from trauma-related mental health issues.  


We use a wide range of research techniques, including functional and structural MRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalogram (EEG), psychophysiological assessments including acoustic startle and eSense. We are especially interesting in studying the fear neurocircuitry and fear / response inhibition, and context processing as potential mechanisms for risk, resilience and treatment efficacy.

Our current funders include the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and

the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF/NARSAD).

MicrosoftTeams-image (1).png

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) study

Interested in participating?

Click here

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved treatment for major depressive disorder, and has shown positive effects for PTSD. It is a safe and noninvasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to induce a small electric current in the brain. It is In this study, we use a more concise and more precise way to deliver TMS, and investigate the mechanisms of TMS for PTSD. For detailed information on the study visits, click here

This study is a registered clinical trial, and is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (K01MH121653, PI van Rooij, 2020-2025), the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF), and Foundation for Neurofeedback and Neuromodulation Research (FNNR).

neurosurgery ablation cover_edited.jpg

Amygdala Ablation study

Not recruiting

In this study, epilepsy patients undergoing amygdala ablation were invited for assessments of PTSD symptoms and biomarkers before and 6 months after surgery. The first paper shows an improvement in PTSD symptoms and biomarkers in two patients with epilepsy and PTSD. 


The study was funded by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (2019-2022, PI van Rooij) and was conduced in collaboration with the Department of Neurosurgery (Drs. Willie and Dr. Drane).

MRI Scan Image

Ongoing collaborations

Not recruiting

We participate in two large multisite studies:

1. Emergency Department (AURORA)

P.I. McLean, Emory P.I. Stevens

2. Critical periods in development

P.I. Jovanovic, Emory P.I. Stevens