Graduate Student Advisees:
- Delainey Wescott
Education & Training
- PhD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Research Interest Summary
Mood Disorders; Circadian Biology; Sleep; Behavioral Genetics; Seasonal Affective Disorder
Photoreception – One area of research in the lab is testing whether retinal sensitivity to light for circadian and direct effects of light on the CNS are etiologically significant in depression. We employ pupillometry, melatonin assays, and behavioral genetics to determine if individuals with SAD have a retinal subsensitivity that may increase risk for winter depressive episodes.
Sleep – In another area of the lab we are investigating whether or not sleep might be a target of intervention in SAD, and what types of interventions would be indicated. Specifically, insomnia and hypersomnia are found in well over half of individuals with SAD, as are delayed or irregular timing of sleep periods, along with other circadian timing issues. Careful characterization of the sleep and circadian timing of individuals with SAD may lead the way for targeted interventions focused on sleep.
Biopsychosocial Model – In addition to photoreception and sleep, we are measuring other biological, hormonal, interpersonal, cognitive and behavioral vulnerabilities in SAD commensurate with the integrative model for the disorder. The aims in this area of research are, among other things, to identify possible interactions between different categories of risk, and to identify novel treatment targets and intervention strategies employing motivational and interpersonal processes.
Please see www.roecklein.pitt.edu for additional information.