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Anxiety Disorders

A broad range of research in anxiety disorders is underway in the Department of Psychiatry.  Faculty are investigating the neurobiological mechanisms underlying panic, anxiety and fear responses and also conduct an anxiety disorders clinical research program which investigates epidemiology, neurobiological illness mechanisms, and novel psychopharmacological and psychological treatment strategies.  These efforts are funded through grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and through productive partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry.

Basic science studies have focused on delineating the neural circuitry involved in panic like responses. Two CNS sites, in the hypothalamus and the amygdala, have been identified as important in acute panic-like responses and long-term vulnerability to anxiety. A potential rodent model of panic disorder has been developed and is utilized in various studies.

Faculty currently involved in this research:

Philip Johnson, Ph.D.
Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D.

The clinical research program is currently studying epidemiologic, neuroendocrine, psychological and pharmacologic aspects of panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder social anxiety disorder, civilian trauma, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  Neuroimaging assessment of the disorders with modern techniques such as positron emission tomographic (PET), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a part of our overall research plan.  In addition, the anxiety disorders center has several collaborative projects planned with the Departments of Medicine, Gastroenterology, Neurosurgery, Neurology and Radiology.   

Faculty currently involved in this research:

Andrew Goddard, M.D.
Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D.

Learn more about our current research studies.