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Karestan Koenen, Ph.D.

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Biography
Columbia UniversityPost-doctoral Fellowship2002Psychiatric Epidemiology
Boston UniversityPhD1999Clinical Psychology
Columbia UniversityMA1996Developmental Psychology
Wellesley CollegeBA1990Economics

Overview
Karestan C. Koenen, PhD aims to reduce the population burden of mental disorders through research, training, and advocacy. She is passionate about using science to overcome violence and trauma, which are major preventable causes of health problems globally.

Research
Dr. Koenen directs the Biology of Trauma Initiative at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard where she is an Institute Member. Her research focus is three-fold. First, she studies why some people develop PTSD and related mental and physical health problems and why some people are resilient when exposed to similar traumatic events. Second, she investigates how violence, trauma, and PTSD alter long-term physical health and accelerate aging. Third, she aims to expand access to evidence-based mental health treatment for survivors of violence and trauma. To this end, she co-wrote the book, Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse and Interpersonal Trauma: STAIR Narrative Therapy with Drs. Marylene Cloitre, Lisa Cohen. Kile M Ortigo, and Christie Jackson.

Relevant links:
Biology of Trauma: https://www.broadinstitute.org/biology-trauma-initiative-broad-institute
Book can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Treating-Survivors-Childhood-Interpersonal-Trauma-ebook/dp/B0859BZZDM

Training
Dr. Koenen leads the NIMH-funded Training Program in Psychiatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics (T32) and the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Population Mental Health. She also advises masters and doctoral degree students in the Departments of Epidemiology and Social Behavioral Sciences. In addition, Dr. Koenen leads the Trauma Epidemiology and Population Mental Health Research Group for her students and post-doctoral fellows. The group is primarily a forum for trainees and junior investigators to present and receive feedback on work-in-progress, but also includes presentations on advanced research methodology and career development.

For students who are interested in working within the Koenen lab, please use the following link to express interest. https://forms.gle/MQpU3nuS75k98kfP7


Advocacy
Dr. Koenen advocates for survivors of violence and trauma. In May 2011, Dr. Koenen testified before the House Foreign Affairs Full Committee about the epidemic of sexual violence and victim blaming culture of the Peace Corps. She has written for the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Women's Media Center's Women Under Siege Project, which investigates how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in conflict. Dr. Koenen also consulted on the documentary, It Happened Here, which examined the epidemic of sexual assault on university campuses. In addition, Dr. Koenen speaks to lay audiences about the latest scientific findings around violence and trauma.

Research
The research activities and funding listed below are automatically derived from NIH ExPORTER and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing items. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
  1. R01MH134468 (KOENEN, KARESTAN C) Aug 25, 2023 - Jul 31, 2028
    NIH
    Genetics of PTSD in African Ancestry Populations: Enhancing discovery by addressing inequality
    Role: Principal Investigator
  2. R01MH124851 (BOERGLUM, ANDERS ;DAVIS, LEA K;FRANKE, BARBARA ;KOENEN, KARESTAN C;NEALE, BENJAMIN MICHAEL) May 19, 2021 - Feb 28, 2026
    NIH
    2/7 Psychiatric Genomics Consortium: Advancing Discovery and Impact
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  3. U01MH125045 (KOENEN, KARESTAN C) Sep 18, 2020 - Jul 31, 2025
    NIH
    2/4 Powering Genetic Discovery for Severe Mental Illness in Latin American and African Ancestries
    Role: Principal Investigator
  4. U01MH125047 (MARTIN, ALICIA ;NEALE, BENJAMIN MICHAEL) Sep 14, 2020 - Jul 31, 2025
    NIH
    1/4 Powering Genetic Discovery for Severe Mental Illness in Latin American and African Ancestries
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  5. R01MH120642 (AKENA, DICKENS HOWARD;KOENEN, KARESTAN C ;STEIN, DAN JOSEPH;TEFERRA, SOLOMON) Sep 1, 2019 - Jun 30, 2024
    NIH
    Psychosis Genetics Research in Africa: Building Capacity by Investing in People
    Role: Principal Investigator

Bibliographic
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.