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Isabelle M. Rosso, Ph.D.

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University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PAPhD2002Clinical Psychology
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NHA.B.1993Biology & Psychology
French Baccalaureat, Magna cum laude
Golden Key National Honor Society
Rufus Choate Scholar Award
University Fellowship
Dean's Scholar Award
Best Paper in Neuroscience
Blue Ribbon Finalist for Best Clinical/Translational Poster Presentation
Top Paper Finalist

I am an Associate Professor of Psychology at the Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research of McLean Hospital. I also serve as Director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Laboratory, and I devote approximately 70% of my time to research, 20% to teaching, and 10% to administrative activities. My primary activities involve directing an NIMH R01 study on which I am the Principal Investigator (PI), supervising the execution of an R01 subcontract on which I am the site PI, and co-managing the execution of a DOD grant on which I am a co-investigator. I am also a co-investigator on a multisite study applying the Human Connectome neuroimaging and behavioral protocols in a sample of youth with depression and anxiety.

My research uses brain imaging to characterize neurobiological phenotypes of anxiety and stress-related disorders, and to relate them to behavioral phenotypes and clinical phenomenology. The field of psychiatry has reached an exciting juncture where we have the neuroscience knowledge and methods that can lead to a mechanistic understanding of mental illness -- particularly in the context of the NIMH’s commitment to the dimensional and transdiagnostic research framework known as RDoC. In this vein, one project in my laboratory is studying posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, in order to identify alterations in neurochemicals that modulate neuronal excitability. This line of investigation is based on preclinical and clinical evidence that PTSD involves abnormal excitability of brain regions mediating emotional regulation, including fear conditioning. Thus, we are also examining whether neurochemistry is associated with behavioral and phenomenological aspects of PTSD, including fear extinction deficits and hyperarousal symptoms. During the past ten years, I have been continuously funded through independent grants from the Dana Foundation, an NIMH R01, and most recently a NARSAD Independent Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. A longstanding interest and theme of my research program has been the identification of neurobehavioral markers of risk versus disease processes in psychiatric disorders. I have pursued this interest in the context of many different research designs, including epidemiological studies of early risk factors, family studies of biological relatives of clinically affected individuals, investigations of patients in the earliest stages of their illness, and most recently studies of trauma-exposed individuals with and without PTSD.

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. R01MH120400 (ROSSO, ISABELLE M) Jul 1, 2019 - Apr 30, 2024
    Multimodal imaging of hippocampal-cortical networks and mechanisms of trauma-related intrusions
    Role: Principal Investigator
  2. P50MH115874 (CARLEZON, WILLIAM A.) Apr 1, 2019 - Feb 28, 2024
    Silvio O. Conte Center for Stress Peptide Advanced Research, Education, & Dissemination (SPARED) at McLean Hospital
    Role: Project 4 Principal Investigator
  3. NARSAD Independent Investigator Award (ROSSO, ISABELLE M) Sep 15, 2016 - Sep 14, 2018
    Brain and Behavior Research Founation
    Impact of riluzole on hippocampal glutamate excitotoxicity in PTSD
    Role Description: This is a proof-of-principle 6-week open label trial of riluzole in chronic PTSD. The major objective is to determine whether riluzole, an agent with established neuroprotective and antiglutamatergic properties, shows efficacy in rescuing a neurochemical phenotype of hippocampal excitotoxicity (high glutamate, low N-acetyl aspartate) in PTSD. A second objective is to determine whether riluzole shows targeted efficacy for symptoms and behaviors that rely on the hippocampus.
    Role: P.I.
  4. R01MH096987 (ROSSO, ISABELLE M) Jul 1, 2012 - Mar 31, 2018
    Cerebral GABA and Fear Conditioning in PTSD
    Role: Principal Investigator
  5. (ROSSO, ISABELLE M) Jun 1, 2010 - May 30, 2014
    The Dana Foundation
    Proton spectroscopy of inhibitory neurotransmission in posttraumatic stress disorder
    Role: Principal Investigator

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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.