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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Celebrating 75 Years! Learn More >>

Dimensional Traumatic Stress Research Program


This program supports research to develop and refine measures of basic dimensions of functioning (e.g., fear circuitry, working memory, arousal, emotion regulation) relevant across traditionally defined or perceived post-traumatic psychopathology as well as interventions with dimensional therapeutic targets. Applications responsive to this program should apply emerging knowledge about genetics, brain circuitry and functioning, as well as behavior to aid in characterizing posttraumatic disorders. Further, applications may seek to validate approaches to assessing dysregulated/dysfunctional brain and behavioral functions, structures, connections, and processes that are predictive of symptoms and/or implicated in etiology or persistence of disorder or alternatively predictive of treatment responsiveness.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Developing new ways of classifying post-traumatic mental disorders based on observable dimensions of behavior and neurobiological measures
  • Defining disorder subtypes based on new knowledge about genetics, brain functioning, and behavior
  • Comparing patients who differ on symptom clusters or other indices of brain and behavioral functioning as well as those who fall just short of meeting usual diagnostic criteria to determine the types and severity of behavioral and/or neurobiological deficits that are associated with a putative biomarker
  • Investigating symptom clusters in terms of genes, behaviors, brain structures, connections, functions, and processes to refine measurement and promote development of more targeted treatments
  • Piloting translational intervention studies targeting well measured dysregulated/dysfunctional circuits, processes, and behaviors to assess behavioral and neurobiological changes 


Susan Borja, Ph.D.
Program Chief
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7125, MSC 9632