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Previous Webinar Speakers

Emily Holmes, PhD DClinPsych

Mental Health Science: From a Curiosity About the "Imaginary World" to Applications in the "Real World"

Presenter Biography: 

Holmes received her degree in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, UK. She is also a clinician and completed a clinical psychology training doctorate at Royal Holloway University of London, and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience in Cambridge. She became Professor in 2010 at the University of Oxford. Holmes is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. She is the recipient of several international awards, including from the American Psychological Association and the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Holmes serves on the Board of Trustees of the research charity "MQ; transforming mental health”. 

Holmes’ work as a clinical psychologist has fuelled her research questions. She is interested in psychological treatment innovation in mental health – both in creating new techniques and reaching more people. Under the wider umbrella of mental health science, her approach brings together psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, maths and more. Holmes’ research has demonstrated that mental imagery has a more powerful impact on emotion than its verbal counterpart. Her group is particularly interested in understanding and reducing intrusive memories (‘flashbacks’) after traumatic events, whether a severe car accident, traumatic childbirth, war, or events during the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end her research team in Uppsala are creating a hub studying intrusive memories internationally, with current collaborations including UK, Iceland, Columbia and Australia. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the idea of mental health science

  • Share a curiosity about mental imagery

  • Explore how we might move from the lab to real world (and back again)

Catherine Harmer, DPhil, MA, DipLATHE - University of Oxford

Using Cognitive Neuroscience to Improve Future Treatment of Depression and Anxiety"

Presenter Biography:

Dr. Harmer is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. She is an experimental psychologist and neuroscientist with an innovative program of translational research that examines the cognitive mechanisms underlying treatment effects in psychiatry. As Director of the Psychopharmacology and Emotional Research Lab (PERL), she employs a range of methodologies, including neuropsychological testing, transcranical magnetic stimulation and functional neuroimaging with fMRI and PET in healthy and clinical populations. Her program of research is an excellent example of how research from basic cognitive neuroscience can be rapidly translated to real-world clinical interventions. More information about her exciting research, as well as links to her publications, can be found here:

Leanne Williams, Ph.D. - Stanford University

“Neuroscience-Informed Precision Psychiatry​"

Despite tremendous advances in characterizing human brain circuits that govern emotional and cognitive functions that are impaired in depression and anxiety, we lack a circuit-based taxonomy for depression and anxiety that captures transdiagnostic heterogeneity and informs clinical decision making. In this webinar I present on the development and testing of a system for quantifying six brain circuits reproducibly and at the individual patient level. The system is developed in a primary sample and tested on generalizability samples of depression and anxiety (n=250). Results from this system show that disconnections within both task-free and task-evoked circuits relate to specific symptom and behavioral phenotypes. Circuit dysfunction scores also predict response to antidepressant and behavioral intervention treatments in an independent sample. This system offers one foundation for deploying standardized circuit assessments across research groups, trials and clinics to advance more precise classifications and treatment targets for psychiatry.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To become familiar with large-scale human neural circuits implicated in depression and anxiety

  2. To learn about an approach to identifying types of depression and anxiety based on neural circuit dysfunction

  3. To gain insights into how neural circuit types of depression can be used to optimize treatments

Dr. Judy Illes, University of British Columbia, Canada

"Neuroethics for the Neurosciences"

Presenter Biography:

Dr. Illes is Professor of Neurology and Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics at UBC. She is Director of Neuroethics Canada, and faculty in the Centre for Brain Health and at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. She received her PhD in Hearing and Speech Sciences, and in Neuropsychology at Stanford University, and became one of the pioneers of the field of neuroethics formally established in early 2000. Dr. Illes’ research, teaching and outreach initiatives are devoted to ethical, legal, social and policy challenges at the intersection of the brain sciences and biomedical ethics. She has made groundbreaking contributions to neuroethical thinking for neuroscience discovery and clinical translation specifically in the areas of neuroimaging, and neuromodulation across the lifespan, more broadly to entrepreneurship and the commercialization of health care. Dr. Illes is co-Lead of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy. She was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2012 and appointed to the Order of Canada in December 2017, the highest award for citizens in her country.

Basic neuroscientific research on the mechanisms underlying cognitive, affective, and social processes have been slow in penetrating real-world psychology/psychiatry clinics. This is a missed opportunity for maximizing and advancing our understanding of core patterns of psychopathology and treatment response in neuropsychiatric disorders. This series will bring together members from the neuroscience, medical, and psychiatry/psychology communities to translate basic science findings into real-world clinical practice. 


Learning Objectives:

  • To evaluate promising neuroscientific findings in the areas of emotion, socioemotional learning and development, cognition, and therapeutic change that have significant potential to improve prevention and intervention efforts for mental illness.

  • To recognize common barriers to the translation and adoption of basic science in real-world clinical practice.  

  • To articulate the benefits of integrating neuroscientific research in clinical practice in terms of prevention, assessment, and treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Jennifer Kubota, University of Delaware

"The Social Neuroscience of Prejudice"

Diversity and inclusion are critical to maintaining excellence in clinical care. Fortunately, as the demographics of our world change individuals are more likely to engage with others who are from different backgrounds. Although this increasingly inclusive atmosphere provides new opportunities, fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment that translates to care has been challenging. In this discussion, we will unpack these challenges and examine factors that contribute to social identity bias and factors that improve intergroup relations using evidence from both social science and neuroscience.

Presenter Biography: 

Jennifer Kubota is an Assistant Professor and co-director of the Impression Formation Social Neuroscience Lab in the Departments of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. Dr. Kubota received a joint PhD in Social Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She then held a postdoctoral fellowship in social neuroscience at New York University, during which she worked on projects related to the neural foundations of racial bias.


Dr. Kubota’s research explores how we achieve equity in intergroup relations. She examines how we form impressions of marginalized individuals or those who are different from us; how those impressions influence our thoughts, feelings, and decisions; and how we may intervene to achieve parity or improve interactions. As a social neuroscientist, her research crosses disciplinary boundaries, bridging psychology, neuroscience, and decision-making with the goal of understanding real-world social change. Her work has been published in various neuroscience and psychology journals, including Nature Neuroscience, Nature Human Behaviour, Psychological Science, Perspectives in Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Biological Psychology, and Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience. She has received funding from the Army Research Institute, Ford Foundation, National Institute on Aging, and the National Science Foundation in support of her research.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Define prejudice and stereotyping

  2. Define implicit and explicit bias

  3. Define social neuroscience and describe how measures of brain activity such as EEG and fMRI are
    used to make inferences about social processes.

  4. Discuss how social categorization occurs

  5. Discuss possible interventions based on behavioral and neuroscience research


Recommended Reading:

  1. Amodio, D. M., & Cikara, M. (2021). The social neuroscience of prejudice. Annual review of psychology, 72, 439-469.

  2. Kubota, J. T., Banaji, M. R., & Phelps, E. A. (2012). The neuroscience of race. Nature neuroscience, 15(7), 940-948.

  3. Mattan, B. D., Wei, K. Y., Cloutier, J., & Kubota, J. T. (2018). The social neuroscience of race-based and status-based prejudice. Current opinion in psychology, 24, 27-34.

  4. deShazo, R. D., Hoesley, C. J., & Vickers, S. M. (2020). Ending racial bias in American medicine: A call for help from the AMA, NMA, AAMC and the rest of us. The American Journal of Medicine.

  5. Diaz, T., Navarro, J. R., & Chen, E. H. (2020). An institutional approach to fostering inclusion and addressing racial bias: implications for diversity in academic medicine. Teaching and learning in medicine, 32(1), 110-116.

Dr. Wolfgang Lutz, University of Trier

"Personalization of Psychological Treatments and Data-informed Clinical Practice"

The development of change measurement in psychotherapy has substantially evolved in recent decades, making it an integral part of clinical practice and training. This presentation  addresses fundamental issues of change in psychotherapy: how to measure, monitor or to predict it and how to provide feedback on treatment change. The presentation starts with a historical overview of psychotherapy research, covering several approaches applied to a data-informed clinical practice. The focus will be on the impact of assessments and feedback into clinical practice, the tracking and prediction of individual change, therapist differences, and continuous and discontinuous patterns of change within treatments as well as differences between treatments. A research program and treatment navigation system is presented (the Trier Treatment Navigator), that investigates the change processes as well as progress and outcome on different levels of the psychotherapeutic endeavor. Such new treatment navigation systems allow the inclusion of individually tailored problem-solving strategies for treatment selection and adaptation, especially for those patients at risk for treatment failure. Furthermore, the integration and implementation of outcome measurement into clinical practice and training and its hurdles will be presented.

Presenter Biography: 

Wolfgang Lutz is a Professor and Director of the Outpatient Clinic and Postgraduate Clinical Training Program in the Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy department at the University of Trier in Germany. Dr. Lutz’s research focuses on change in psychotherapy and using empirical data for personalized decision-making in mental health. He is particularly interested in assessing and modelling patients’ individual change in anxiety and depressive disorders over the course of treatment. His work also entails identifying predictors and mediators of treatment outcome. His work has been featured in numerous psychology journals, including Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Affective Disorders, JAMA Psychiatry, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Psychological Assessment, and more. Dr. Lutz has been recognized for various awards and fellowships, including an Early Career Contribution Award of the International Society for Psychotherapy Research, and distinguished research and leader recognition from the Association for Psychological Science. 


Learning Objectives:

  1. What is Personalized Mental Health Care?

  2. What do we know about therapist effects?

  3. What is the better-than-average effect?

  4.  Why are clinical support tools useful for routine practice?

  5. How can digital phenotyping information be useful for clinical practice?



Recommended Reading:

  1. Lutz, W., de Jong, K., Rubel, J., & Delgadillo, J. (2021). Measuring, Predicting and Tracking Change in Psychotherapy. In M. Barkham, W. Lutz, & L. G. Castonguay (Eds.), Bergin and Garfield's Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (7th ed.), (pp. 89-133),. New York, NY: Wiley.

  2. Lutz, W., Deisenhofer, A.-K., Rubel, J., Bennemann, B., Giesemann, J., Poster, K., & Schwartz, B. (2021). Prospective evaluation of clinical decision support system in psychological therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

  3. Lutz, W., Rubel, J., Schwartz, B., Schilling, V., & Deisenhofer, A. (2019). Towards integrating personalized feedback research into clinical practice: Development of the Trier Treatment Navigator (TTN). Behaviour Research and Therapy.

  4. Lutz, W., Schwartz, B., Hofmann, S. G., Fisher, A. J., Husen, K., & Rubel, J. A. (2018). Network analysis predicts treatment dropout in patients with mood and anxiety disorders. Scientific Reports. 8, 7819. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25953-0

Josh Woolley MD, PhD (UCSF)

"Psychedelic therapies for psychiatric disorders: An introduction and early results"

Presenter Biography: 

Dr. Josh Woolley is an Associate Professor in Residence in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as well as a staff psychiatrist in Mental Health at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC). He is Board Certified in Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is the Director of the Bonding and Attunement in Neuropsychiatric Disorders (BAND) lab at UCSF that focuses on understanding and treating social deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, substance use disorders, and mood disorders. He is also the Director of the Translational Psychedelic Research (TrPR) Program at UCSF, which brings together scientists and care providers across disciplines to understand how psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, MDMA, and related compounds impact the brain and other organ systems.


In addition to his work as a researcher, Dr. Woolley is also a dedicated mentor, clinician, and educator who enjoys training the next generation of clinicians and scientists. Over the course of his career, Dr. Woolley has mentored over 80 research assistants, over 20 postdoctoral fellows and several junior faculty members. He is the Associate Director of the Psychosis Clinic at the SFVA where he supervises and trains medical students, psychiatry residents, and clinical and research fellows. He has also served as the Co-Director of the first-year medical school psychiatry course Brain Mind and Behavior, and has been given several awards for his dedication to teaching.


Dr. Woolley has received numerous intramural and extramural awards including the NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the Young Investigator Award, as well as travel awards from the California Society for Addiction Medicine, the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. He is an Associate Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. His work is supported by the Department of Veteran Affairs as well as the Department of Defense, philanthropy, and industry. He has also published his work widely in high-impact journals including Schizophrenia Bulletin, Biological Psychiatry, and American Journal of Psychiatry, among others.


Learning Objectives:

  1. To understand recent work investigating potential therapeutic uses of psilocybin for depressive disorders including bipolar depression. 

  2. To understand how psilocybin therapy is typically delivered in modern clinical trials

  3. To understand the results from our recent trial of psilocybin assisted group therapy for demoralization in long-term AIDS survivors

Hideki Ohira, PhD (Nagoya University)

"Affective decision-making based on interoceptive predictive processing: Implications for clinical issues"

Interoception, which means sensations of inner body signals and regulation of the body to maintain homeostasis, has been considered to play key roles in affect and decision-making. Recently, the theory of predictive processing has been focused as a potential theoretical framework to explain the association between interoception, affect, and decision-making. In this perspective, interoception is considered as not just a bottom-up processing but to emerge through comparison between predictions by inner models in the brain and actual bodily signals (prediction error). The brain regulates physiological systems by minimizing prediction errors. Success to reduce prediction error might be linked with positive affective states and expansion and maintenance of prediction error might result in negative affective states. Furthermore, success of prediction error reduction and accompanying positive affect can work as reward and increase values of related behaviors and objects. Inversely, failure of prediction error reduction devaluates related behaviors and objects. Consequently, probabilities of choices of the behaviors and objects can be modulated. Such a theoretical framework can consistently combine several important psychological phenomena such as interoception, affect, reward, and decision-making. Computational models describing dynamics of the predictive processing of interoception can explain empirical data in neuroimaging and psychophysiological experiments. In this theoretical framework, some psychopathological states such as depression, anxiety, and psychosomatic disorders can be understood as disturbances in the predictive processing of interoception. This framework should shed a new light for understanding about human nature, and furthermore for developing new ways for psychological therapies.

Presenter Biography: 

Hideki Ohira is a professor of psychology in the department of psychological and cognitive sciences, graduate school of informatics, Nagoya University, Japan. He has expertise in psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience.


Hideki Ohira has research interest on functional interactions of the brain and body, underlying interoception (perception of signals from the inner body), affect, and decision-making. For this aim, he is using multiple methodologies such as neuroimaging (PET, fMRI, MRS, etc.), electrophysiology (EEG, ECG, EDA, etc.), as well as behavioral experimental paradigms developed in psychology. Recently, Hideki Ohira is promoting research projects using computational modeling such as reinforcement learning model and state-space models to explain integrated dynamics of interoception, emotion, and decision-making.

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