banner image

Dr. Stacie Warren Garners NIH Funding for Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research

Palo Alto University Faculty Stacie L. Warren, Ph.D.

  Professor Stacie Warren, PhD, is co-investigator on several National Institutes of Health research projects that bring innovative grant funding to PAU and provide students with unique learning opportunities.    The three grants are titled: Dr. Warren said, “A unifying theme for these grants is that most psychiatric disorders have a neurodevelopmental origin, but we don’t have a good understanding of how brain systems become compromised in the development and course of psychopathology. That leaves a gaping hole in our prevention and intervention efforts.”    She said the three grants will help researchers develop new targets for early intervention and prevention, such as neural circuits.    For example, the first two grants will focus on cognitive control and the processes that help us make decisions and regulate emotions. Warren explained that “impairments in cognitive control are fundamental to every form of psychopathology. These grant projects are creating new methodological approaches to understanding the components of cognitive control, how to measure cognitive control more effectively, and mapping these elements to the brain.”   The second grant uses “novel cognitive, neuroscience and computational models." Traditional statistical approaches may not be sufficient for describing the mechanisms of psychopathology and Dr. Warren states that “the computational grant, and the others, really push the scientific envelope to advance our science of psychology. I am excited to be a part of these projects, and I am grateful to work with such an exceptional, first-rate team at Stanford.”   For the second and third grants, PAU students are being trained to provide pediatric neuropsychological assessments. “Historically, PAU students who wanted to specialize in pediatric neuropsychology did not have a lot of practicum options available to them,” said Dr. Warren. “So, I created a pediatric neuropsychological assessment practicum in conjunction with my work at Stanford University.”    These are compensated research opportunities for PAU students, which is rare in the field, and the hours also count toward internship applications, she explained.   Dr. Warren’s work has focused on adults 18-55 years old, but she describes herself as a ‘lifespan neuropsychologist.’  “I get to study emotion regulation, executive function, and the development of psychopathology in kids. This is a natural progression of my program of research, because, as it turns out, to understand the developmental trajectories of psychopathology, you’ve got to start with children!”   In the future, her work may incorporate older adults. “It is important to study developmental contexts,” said Dr. Warren. “As the interventions and preventative measures we develop for children, adults, and older adults might look different. As medicine is becoming more personalized, our therapy needs to become more personalized.”