Advisor: Dr. Judith Morgan, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (University of Pittsburgh)
Collaborators: Catherine Osterritter
Current literature suggests that the effect of maternal depression can be seen in early childhood years, yet the exact mechanisms underlying the transmission of depression from mother to child are not fully known and warrant further investigation. One putative mechanism is considered to be altered neural response to reward that contributes to anhedonia, a key symptom of depression. Research has yet to evaluate how young pre-pubertal children process rewards and how this is related to their risk for depression.
In Dr. Morgan's lab, my responsibilities included administration of mother/child behavioral questionnaires, data analysis (using SPM8 and SPSS), saliva sampling of neuroendocrine function, and assisting with fMRI scans. Ultimately I was able to explore my own hypothesis regarding reward processing in children at risk for depression.
Me with my poster at the Spring 2015 Undergraduate Research Fair!