Research Objectives at the BPN

Our research examines modulators of the medial temporal hippocampal (MTH) and prefrontal systems across the adult human lifespan. Currently, we have projects ongoing that focus on the impact of psychosocial stress on neurocognitive function examined through the lens of racialized stress in African American/Black adults. For this research, we use functional and structural MRI, structured interviews, surveys and questionnaires, neuropsychological assessments, and biomarker assays from blood and saliva.

Health disparities research suggests social and societal factors may contribute to racial disparities in brain health. A major contributor to health inequities in the U.S. is chronic stress due to the cumulative effects of racism over a lifetime. Although the negative impact of chronic stress on the MTH and prefrontal systems is known, less understood is the impact of chronic interpersonal and institutional/structural racism, unique and salient forms of chronic stress in Black Americans, on the neurocognitive integrity of these brain systems. These research programs seek to provide a deeper understanding of how these stressors impact brain regions associated with memory, emotional processing, and overall mental health in Black Americans.

Current Projects

There are two main areas of work at the Brain Plasticity and Neuroimaging Lab currently. We are fortunate enough that all projects have federal support at this time, and we thank the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the support of the work we do.

  1. Racial Stress and Neurocognitive Aging
  2. Racial Stress and Brain Health/Mental Health in Emerging Adults



This page was last updated: 09/13/2023