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Laura A. Berner Awarded NIMH NRSA F31 Predoctoral Fellowship

September 5, 2012 — Laura A. Berner, a doctoral student in Dr. Michael Lowe’s lab in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, recently received a prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Predoctoral Fellows from the National Institute of Mental Health. The two-year training fellowship will focus on the neural systems mediating self-regulatory control processes in bulimia nervosa and will provide Laura skills and experience essential to her long-term goal of an academic research career in the psychobiological study of eating and weight disorders. As part of this fellowship, she will complete her dissertation research using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIR) to examine brain activity in women with bulimia nervosa and healthy controls during a standard inhibitory control task and a novel, eating-related task that she developed. She will cross-validate the fNIR data for the standard task using fMRI, which will afford her training in and research experience with the neuroimaging gold standard. Her research will elucidate the neurobehavioral connections associated with binge eating and the prefrontal neural mechanisms that may contribute to the development and maintenance of bulimia nervosa.

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