Debra Bangasser, Ph.D.
Research Interests: Mechanisms underlying sex differences in stress-related mental disorders; gonadal hormone modulation of stress response systems throughout the lifespan; stress effects on attention and other cognitive processes; sex differences in neurochemical signaling.
Debra Bangasser, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and member of the Neuroscience Program. She uses a multidisciplinary approach that combines a variety of techniques from behavioral neuroscience, neuroendocrinology, and cellular and molecular biology. The goal of her current research is to identify biological mechanisms that confer vulnerability or resiliency to stress and stress-related mental disorders (e.g., depression and post-traumatic stress disorder). Because women are twice as likely as men to suffer from these disorders, a major focus of her research is to identify sex differences in stress response systems that increase stress-sensitivity in women. To this end, projects in the laboratory will aim to: (1) investigate how gonadal hormone surges during development alter stress response systems, (2) identify modifications to G-protein coupled receptors that increase cellular sensitivity to stress-related neuropeptides in females, and (3) determine how sex and stress alter attention, learning, and anxiety-related behaviors.
Dr. Bangasser’s research is currently funded by the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH). She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, and the Pavlovian Society.