Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
Dr. Gourley’s research team focuses on issues of depression and addiction. Specifically, her team aims to understand why adolescent-emergent depression is associated with insensitivity to traditional antidepressants, and why exposure to drugs of abuse during adolescence is associated with drug abuse and dependence that persist across the lifespan. She hypothesizes these adverse outcomes may relate to the manner in which pathological stimuli, such as stressors, social isolation and drugs of abuse, impact the adolescent prefrontal cortex. Across mammalian species, this brain region organizes complex decision-making, reward valuation and inhibitory control, and it also undergoes considerable remodeling and development during adolescence. Dr. Gourley’s team uses behavioral, pharmacological, biochemical, genetic and cellular approaches to develop and optimize novel therapeutic interventions for vulnerable adolescent populations. Conversely, her research team also aims to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms of resilience to stressors and drugs of abuse at any age.
Dr. Gourley completed her doctoral and postdoctoral training at Yale University. Her early independent research at Emory was supported by an Emory Egleston Children's Research Center fellowship, and she was named the Katherine Deschner Family NARSAD Investigator for 2012-14. The Gourley lab is supported by the National Institute on Mental Health as part of the BRAINS (Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists) initiative, as well as the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
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