William Dale Killgore, Ph.D.
|Title||Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry|
Brain Imaging Center
115 Mill St
Belmont MA 02478
1995||Maxey Scholarship in Psychology|
||Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis in Psychology|
||Rennick Research Award, Co-Authored Paper|
||Honor Graduate, AMEDD Officer Basic Course|
||Outstanding Research Presentation Award, 2003 Force Health Protection Conference|
||Edward L. Buescher Award for Excellence in Research by a Young Scientist|
||Merit Poster Award|
||Outstanding Research Presentation Award, 2009 Force Health Protection Conference|
||Best Paper Award in Neuroscience|
||Finalist, Top Poster Award, Clinical and Translational Research|
2014||DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA), Neuroscience|
My research has emphasized the study of higher order cognition and executive functions and how these cognitive abilities are influenced and guided by subtle affective processes. Over the past 12 years, my research has utilized functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging to study the interaction of affective processes and cognition within limbic networks of the medial temporal lobes and prefrontal cortex. This line of research has led to the refinement of a developmental model of prefrontal cortical-limbic maturation that explains how these processes contribute to the way adolescents perceive emotionally and motivationally relevant stimuli such as affective faces and visual images of food. As a result of the Iraq War, I took an extended leave of absence to serve in the Active Duty Army as the Chief of the Neurocognitive Performance Branch at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 2002-2007. During that time, I extended the scope of my affective processing research to also examine the effects of stressors such as prolonged sleep deprivation, chronic sleep restriction, nutritional deprivation, and the use of stimulant countermeasures on the cognitive-affective systems within the brain. This line of investigation suggests that sleep deprivation alters the metabolic activity within the medial prefrontal cortex, resulting in subtle but profound effects on specific aspects of cognition. These sleep-loss related prefrontal decrements impair the ability to use affective processes to guide judgment and decision-making, particularly in high-risk or morally relevant situations. My recent investigations also suggest that while commonly used stimulants such as caffeine, modafinil, and dextroamphetamine are highly effective at reversing sleep-loss induced deficits in alertness and vigilance, they have virtually no restorative effect on the cognitive-affective decision-making systems of the brain. Having left military service to return to McLean Hospital full time in the summer of 2007, I have since been extending my previous work to identify the extent to which these cognitive-affective decision-making systems and their neurobiological substrates are impaired or altered in patients suffering from anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress. During the past five years I have also successfully secured multiple grants from the DoD and DARPA, including a study of the neural basis of emotional intelligence, a study of a novel light treatment for improving sleep and cognitive functioning in mTBI, and a neuroimaging study of the effectiveness of an internet based cognitive-behavior therapy program, a neuroimaging study of axonal damage in mTBI, and a study of the neural basis of resilience against the adverse effects of sleep deprivation. In early 2011, I was named Co-Director of the Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience Lab at McLean Hospital.
My recent teaching activities have primarily involved daily supervision and training of student research assistants and postdoctoral fellows, as well as occasional seminar presentations. Over the past 6 years, I have closely and regularly mentored more than 25 students at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral level. This involvement has included one-on-one supervision and training in basic research methods, neuropsychological assessment, statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation. Nearly all of my advisees have served as co-authors on abstracts, posters, talks, and published manuscripts based on my research program.
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