How does the social world get under the skin to sculpt the brain and body? As the central question in her work, Gabriella specifically explores how sociocultural risk factors (i.e., race-related and socioeconomic stress) are represented in brain activity and translated into physiological changes that have relevance for mental and physical health. She also examines the psychological and cultural factors that might promote neurobiological resilience among individuals from marginalized groups. In identifying the pathways by which interpersonal and structural systems alter neurobiology, Gabriella’s work has implications for developing interventions that promote health equity.
MORE ABOUT GABRIELLA
The theme of “cell-to-society” that Gabriella explores in her work involves an innovative approach that capitalizes on her training in the basic and social sciences. Gabriella believes HPRS will allow her the opportunity to leverage the benefits of integrating disciplines in order to promote meaningful changes in policy and health care.
DISSERTATION GRANT AWARDEE — SUMMER 2022
Neuroinflammatory Mechanisms Linking Chronic Stress to Motivational Deficits: A Neuropharmacological Approach
Gabriella’s dissertation project uses pharmacological and computational neuroscience techniques to explore the neural and molecular mechanisms that explain how chronic stress leads to motivational deficits. To do so, she is recruiting individuals experiencing chronic stress due to unemployment and then experimentally decreasing inflammatory processes in their brains by having them an antibiotic that safely crosses the blood-brain barrier. Gabriella aims to assess how decreases in neuroinflammation might enhance brain responses in reward-related regions while individuals attempt to gain rewards.
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