Angela Fang, Ph.D.
The Neurocognitive Therapies and Translational Research SIG is leading the front in developing novel therapies and improving the CBT of the future. Our core mission is to bridge the link between basic and applied science in neuroscience and psychology, and my passion for this kind of scientific integration has made the SIG my professional home within ABCT since 2012. Being born in Taiwan and growing up in a Chinese American immigrant family, I was not accustomed to discussing mental health issues at the dinner table, much less brain contributions to mental illness. It has been through my graduate and postgraduate studies, clinical training, and interactions with SIG members, that I have learned how empowering it can be for patients and clinicians alike to understand how behavior can influence biology and vice versa, and also how these interactions can inform treatment decisions. I am currently Assistant Professor at MGH/Harvard Medical School and have focused my multidisciplinary research on understanding the neural and endocrine correlates of social cognitive mechanisms underlying anxiety and obsessive compulsive related disorders. In these populations, I have tested the effects of intranasal oxytocin on attention and trust behavior, and examined peripheral levels of oxytocin as a biomarker of social cognitive impairment. In my K award, I seek to examine whether the neural correlates of maladaptive self-focused attention serve as a predictor of treatment response to CBT. As clinician scientists, I believe we offer a unique vantage point to study the advancement of psychological treatments for mental disorders because we can bring first-hand knowledge of disorder heterogeneity and heterogeneity in treatment mechanisms to generate nuanced hypotheses about key treatment targets. As SIG chair, my goal is to work toward creating a stronger neuroscience presence at ABCT by building up membership especially among trainees and junior investigators, as well as developing high-impact programming that will inspire interest in neurocognitive therapies across ABCT as a whole.
Andrew Peckham, Ph.D.
The NTTR SIG has been my professional home since I entered the field, and I am excited to run for the position of Treasurer and Membership Chair. In this role, my goals would be to (1) continue growing our SIG’s membership within ABCT, (2) ensure that existing members can easily and consistently pay annual dues online, and (3) work with SIG leadership to advertise our SIG’s presence to colleagues outside of ABCT who may not be aware of this group. To achieve these goals, I would work diligently to advertise our SIG’s presence to other like-minded ABCT attendees (such as the Technology SIG), work with our website manager to continue building our capacity for online dues collection, and network with colleagues at meetings of other organizations such as Biological Psychiatry in order to gain new members who may not already attend ABCT.
I previously served as the SIG’s website manager from 2010 to 2018. In this role, I worked closely with SIG leadership to plan website content, implement a new PayPal system to collect dues, and plan the website’s transition to its current Wix platform. In addition, I have served in multiple other SIG roles, including helping to plan the 2016 pre-conference institute and serving as Student Representative (2014-15). I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where I conduct research on transdiagnostic cognitive mechanisms of impulsivity; my research also incorporates multiple methods including EEG/ERP and eyetracking. Prior to my current position, I completed my PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Ryan Jane Jacoby, Ph.D.
I am currently a staff psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. My clinical and research interests are broadly focused on the nature and treatment of OCD and anxiety disorders, including specific interests in psychological mechanisms of change in exposure-based therapies (e.g., inhibitory learning approaches) as well as treatment augmentation strategies that capitalize on these mechanisms. I am also interested in improving the understanding and behavioral/psychophysiological measurement of transdiagnostic psychological processes (e.g., intolerance of uncertainty, cognitive/attentional control) utilizing multi-method approaches (e.g., attentional disengagement eye-tracking tasks, behavioral economic decision-making paradigms, biometric indices of autonomic arousal). Accordingly, I am strongly committed to the NTTR SIG’s mission of integrating cognitive and affective neuroscience to enhance the efficacy of psychological interventions. I have been attending the ABCT convention since 2010, and several of the methods I now use in my research I have learned from participating in this SIG (including from the 2016 pre-conference institute). Thus, as Representative-at-Large, I aim to bring my experience and passion for transdiagnostic and translational research to advance the SIG’s mission and to interface with the broader ABCT community.
SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE CHAIR
Greg Siegle, Ph.D.
Affective psychopathologies, including depression and anxiety, are disabling disorders that affect a large portion of the population. Some of the most clinically salient aspects of these disorders involve disruptions in information processing, how people attend to, remember, and interpret information, e.g., the tendency for depressed individuals to ruminate on negative information. Moreover some of the most effective interventions for psychopathology (e.g., cognitive therapy) are based on changing aspects of how individuals process emotional information. Yet, the roles of individual differences in information processing biases and deficits in psychopathology are unclear. My research program is devoted to understanding how individual differences in disruptions of emotional information processing are related to affective psychopathologies, particularly unipolar depression. Ultimately, this research could lead to better understanding of the nature of affective psychopathologies as well as methods for improving the speed and effectiveness of interventions by tailoring them to account for individual differences in information processing styles.
Three constraints help to make this research rigorous and interpretable. First, the theoretical models I adopt must be physiologically motivated, so as to allow integration of psychological and physiological perspectives. Second, implementing analogs of the models as computational neural networks helps to specify theories in an internally consistent manner, i.e. so theoretical conclusions follow from theoretical assumptions and so variables relevant to a rigorous characterization of a theory have not been left out. Finally, model predictions, generated by computational analogs, must be empirically supported. This constraint leads to empirical advances in understanding psychopathology and the use of valid models in developing novel interventions. This process leads to a research cycle of model specification, hypothesis generation, empirical testing, and model refinement.
To read more about my research please visit:
Jan Mohlman, Ph.D.
Dr. Mohlman conducts research that seeks to explain how processes of aging (e.g., hearing loss, progressive brain disease, deficits in cognitive skills) impact the presentation and treatment of anxiety in later life. This line of inquiry places particular importance on the executive system (e.g., complex cognitive skills such as reasoning, dividing attention, and metacognition) because these skills decline in later life, and are known to be involved in the management and regulation of emotion, anxiety in particular. Dr. Mohlman’s work also extends to treatment outcome research, applying methodology from affective and cognitive neuroscience to inform studies of 1) cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and 2) the presentation of anxiety and related clinical problems. Recent research interests also include emotional contrast and technophobia in older adults. Dr. Mohlman along with Drs. Thilo Deckersbach and Adam Weissman, was the editor of the SIG’s recent book entitled, From Symptom to Synapse: A Neurocognitive Perspective on Clinical Psychology published by Routledge.
Maria Kryza-Lacombe, M.S.
I am currently working toward my PhD in clinical psychology with a concentration in neuropsychology at the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. My research focus lies at the intersection of affective and cognitive developmental neuroscience. I am interested in assessing the interplay between cognitive development and positive and negative emotions in the generation and maintenance of psychopathology. My long-term goal is to pursue independent research in a multidisciplinary academic setting where I hope to contribute to mechanism-based prevention and intervention development efforts to foster resilience in children that translates into advantageous outcomes in adulthood. As such, I am strongly committed to the SIG’s mission to use cognitive and affective neuroscience to improve the conceptualization and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. I was previously the NTTR SIG's website manager and have been inspired by the members’ research and enthusiasm for the NTTR SIG’s mission. As the SIG's Student Representative I hope to help the SIG grow by connecting more students to our community.
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE:
Greg Siegle, Ph.D., Senior Advisor to the Chair
Thilo Deckersbach, Ph.D., Past-President
Rudi De Raedt, Ph.D.
Rebecca Price, Former Chair
Kristen K. Ellard, Former Chair
Jonathan Stange, Former Student Representative
Andrew Peckham, Former Student Representative, Former Website Manager
Elissa Hamlat, Former Student Representative
Peter Hitchcock, Former Social Media Manager
Berda Gilmore, Former Newsletter Designer