Roxann Roberson-Nay, Ph.D.
College of Charleston, BS
University of Maine, PhD
National Institute of Mental Health, Intramural Research Training Awardee, Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience, Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Genetic and Environmental Factors Conferring Risk for Internalizing Conditions
Developmental Epigenetics and Psychopathology
Internalizing disorders (IDs), consisting of syndromes of anxiety and depression, represent common, debilitating negative emotional states whose etiology is not well understood. The central goal of my research has been the delineation of genetic, biological, and psychosocial mechanisms that confer risk for the development of internalizing conditions broadly, with a particular interest in panic spectrum and mood disorders liability. My research program seeks to examine these mechanisms within a developmental framework. My research armamentarium utilizes multiple methodical approaches ranging from neuroimaging to epidemiological to quantitative genetics. To study genetic mechanisms, I use both molecular and behavioral genetic methods. I also have begun to study risk mechanisms in relation to developmental or time trajectories that may be associated with differing genetic underpinnings using advanced statistical modeling. My current, primary research efforts focus on investigations of: (1) genetic mechanisms (i.e., DNA methylation and gene expression) associated with major depression onset and risk, (2) panic risk, (3) biological and physiological systems (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis and sympathetic nervous system pathways) subserving anxiety/panic and mood conditions, and (4) endophenotypic measures related to anxiety/mood risk. I hope that my efforts to better characterize the etiological pathways and mechanisms involved in the development of anxiety and mood related conditions will help set the translational stage for advancement of effective intervention and prevention programs.