Headshot portrait of Abigail Graber - Bio-X Undergraduate Fellow
2021 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Psychology
Mentor: Ian Gotlib (Psychology)

“Associations Among Early Life Stress, Ventral Striatum Activation, and Adolescent Depressive Symptoms”

Individuals exposed to early life stress (ELS) are at high risk to be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. In her project Abigail will examine the effects of ELS on functional connectivity in the ventral striatum in the brain and on subsequent depression using a richly characterized sample of 214 children ages 9-12 years. They hypothesized that ELS is related to blunted activation in the ventral striatum (measured in the scanner using a validated reward processing task), which in turn increases risk for developing depressive symptomatology in adolescence. Identifying reliable biomarkers of depression is critical in informing prevention and treatment efforts.