Blackford Lab

Our Research

Our research is focused on understanding the neural basis of anxiety, including studies that map the basic neurocircuitry of anxiety, studies of anxiety neurobiology in children, and studies examining the role of anxiety in psychiatric disorders including PTSD, alcohol use disorders, and schizophrenia. Our approach is multi-level and multi-modal: we collect measurements across many levels including brain structure and function, physiological stress responses, and behavior. Our neuroimaging methods include measures of brain structure (VBM, manual segmentation), function (functional magnetic resonance imaging), and connectivity (diffusion tensor imaging, resting state connectivity, task-based connectivity). Our long term goal is to use these discoveries to develop new prevention strategies for children at high-risk for developing psychiatric disorders and new treatments for individuals suffering with these disorders.

Our People

Jenni Blackford, PhD, Lab Director
Meg Benningfield, MD, Child Psychiatrist
Brandee Feola, PhD, Post Doctoral Fellow
Lizzie Flook, MD/PhD Student
Manesh Golpadas, MD, Psychiatry Research Resident
Hannah Gardner, Clinical Translational Research Coordinator
Cara Bedock, Clinical Translational Research Coordinator

Undergraduate Students
Madison Noall, Senior
Hamza Kouser, Junior
Jesse Oler, Junior
Anabel Lin, Junior
Ashruta Narapareddy, Freshman
Carson Ferarra, Freshman

Previous Lab Members
Alex Buford, Research Assistant
Sir Norman Melancon, Medical Student
Adaora Mgboh, High School

Past Lab Members
Vanderbilt Graduate Students
Jacci Clauss, MD PhD (Child psychiatry fellow, MGH/McLean/Harvard)
Suzanne Avery, PhD (postdoctoral fellow, Heckers lab, Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt Medical Students
Amil Allen, MD (clinical fellow in Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology, University of Cincinnati)
April Seay , MD (Psychiatrist)
Michael Maggart, MD (medicine resident, Vanderbilt University)
Marina Zaky, MD (pediatrics resident, Vanderbilt University

Undergraduate Students
Ariane Huet (Vanderbilt University, now at University of Texas School of Dentistry)

Summer Students
Zak Millman (Clinical Psychology Post-doc, MGH/Harvard )
David Kattan (PhD graduate student, SUNY-Stonybrook)
Mariel Rios (PhD graduate student, neuroscience, UCLA)
Katie Bell (research assistant, Zald lab, Vanderbilt University)
Erin Miller, Middlebury College

Research Assistants
Kristi Simmons
Ross VanDerKlok (Psychologist, CHE Senior Psychological Services)
Justin Theiss (PhD graduate student, vision science, UC Berkeley)