Childhood Adversity and the Brain

"Drs. Germain and Banihashemi have given me the individual freedom to pursue the research I want, and they are always there for support and questions. They've really fostered my enjoyment of research and have supported my academic pursuits while providing constructive advice for continuing my research in this area."

Supervising Faculty:
Anne Germain, PhD

Layla Banihashemi, PhD

Area of Research:  Psychology, Neuroscience, Stress, Psychiatric disorders

Description of Research:
Directed research students are needed for a human neuroimaging study focusing on the relationships between childhood adversity and the brain. The study examines how adversity-related brain changes may contribute to changes in stress reactivity and vulnerability to mental health symptoms. This study focuses on how childhood adversity may change the structure and function of stress-related brain regions. The study uses an MRI scanner and will employ high-resolution diffusion spectrum imaging and functional connectivity techniques.

Duties of Students:

  • Students will assist with recruitment-related tasks and data entry.
  • Students will assist with literature reviews and data collection, processing and/or analysis.
  • Students will attend lab meetings and will learn about neuroscience and stress research.  
  • Students will complete a written project and may have the opportunity to contribute to a research abstract or manuscript.


  • Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and meet the other departmental requirements.
  • A 2-term commitment is required.
  • An 8-hour minimum/week commitment is required.
  • Some relevant coursework in neuroscience (e.g., Intro to Neuroscience, Functional Neuroanatomy), functional or diffusion-weighted neuroimaging techniques (e.g., Topics in Psychology), OR Biological Psychology is strongly recommended.

Terms offered: fall, spring and summer

Number of Students:  1-3

Lab website: