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Brady Nelson, Ph.D


University of Illinois at Chicago (2013)
Assistant Professor, Clinical
 
Dr. Nelson plans to admit a new graduate student pending approval of funding.

Brady Nelson

Contact:

brady.nelson@stonybrook.edu
Office: Psychology B-420

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Research Interests:

Affective neuroscience and psychophysiology; Cognitive, emotional, and motivational mechanisms of anxiety disorders and depression; Development of mechanisms across childhood and adolescence; Biomarkers of risk for psychopathology

Current Research:

My research program uses affective neuroscience to better understand the cognitive, emotional, and motivational mechanisms that contribute to the development of psychopathology, with a particular emphasis on anxiety disorders and depression. To this end, I employ psychophysiological, neuroimaging, neuropsychological, biological, behavioral, observational, and self-report methods across child, adolescent, and adult populations. Overall, I aim to use affective neuroscience to better identify individuals who are at risk for psychopathology and improve efforts to prevent and treat mental illness.

To date my research has primarily focused on two potential mechanisms—sensitivity to uncertain/unpredictable threat and sensitivity to reward—using a variety of affective neuroscience techniques, including electroencephalography (EEG), event-related potentials (ERPs), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), heart rate variability, and the startle reflex. In addition to DSM-defined disorders, I also take a dimensional taxonomic approach, and include measures of personality, clinical traits, and transdiagnostic factors.  

Sensitivity to Uncertain/Unpredictable Threat and Anxiety Disorders

A core branch of my research program has examined sensitivity to uncertain/unpredictable threat as a mechanism of anxiety disorders. I have used a variant of the no, predictable, and unpredictable threat (NPU-threat) task, which contains three within-subject conditions: 1) no threat (N; participants are safe from threat), 2) predictable threat (P; threat is signaled by a short duration cue), and 3) unpredictable threat (U; threat is unsignaled). Throughout the task, the startle eye blink reflex is measured as an index of defensive motivation. Across multiple studies, increased startle potentiation in anticipation of unpredictable (but not predictable) threat has been associated with anxiety disorders, symptoms, and familial history (i.e., risk). In addition to the startle reflex, I have also examined ERP and fMRI measures during the NPU-threat task. I am currently examining startle and ERP measures during the NPU-threat task in children and adolescents, and how these measures relate to development, emerging symptoms of anxiety, and risk for psychopathology. 

Sensitivity to Reward and Depression

A second branch of my research program has examined reward sensitivity as a mechanism of risk for depression. In adolescent girls, I previously found that the reward positivity, an ERP indicator of reward sensitivity, prospectively predicted first-onset depressive disorders and increased depressive symptoms, independent of other prominent risk factors. I am currently the director of the Impact of Puberty on Affect and Neural Development across Adolescence (iPANDA) project, which is a longitudinal multi-method (ERPs and fMRI) study of within-subject trajectories of reward sensitivity and depressive symptoms in adolescent girls. The iPANDA project includes a baseline assessment (T 1: ages 8 to 14) and three follow-up assessments (T 2: ages 10 to 16; T 3: ages 12 to 18; and T 4: ages 14 to 20) of neural reward sensitivity and psychopathology. The study aims to examine whether baseline indicators of risk for depression predict developmental trajectories of reward sensitivity, developmental trajectories of reward sensitivity predict depression symptoms, and the impact of stress on developmental trajectories of reward sensitivity and depression symptoms.

Current Funding:

2021-2025          National Institute of Mental Health 1R01MH122537-01A1
                                     Development of Negative Valence Measures
                                     Total costs: $3,005,780
                                     Co-I (PIs: Roman Kotov and Leonard Simms)
 
2020-2021          National Science Foundation
                                     RAPID: Effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on the Psychosocial,
                                     Emotional, Academic and Career Functioning of Academic Communities
                                     Total costs: $198,238
                                      Co-I (PI: Bonita London)
 
 2020-2021          Stony Brook University Office of the Vice President of Research
                                      Effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on the Academic, Career, Mental,                                                               
                                      Psychosocial, and Physical Functioning of the SBU Community
                                     Total costs: $25,000
                                     MPI (Other PIs: Jessica Schleider and Lauren Richmond)
 
 2019-2023        National Institute of Mental Health 1R01MH119310-01
                                     Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up and Child Protective Services-Involved                                                                   
                                    Parents: Testing Effectiveness in the Community
                                    Total costs: $3,069,458
                                    Co-I (PIs: Kristin Bernard and Mary Dozier)
 
2018-2022       National Institute of Mental Health 2R01MH097767-06A1
                                    Trajectories of Reward Sensitivity and Depression across Adolescence
                                    Total costs: $3,961,499
                                    PI

Representative Publications:

Nelson, B. D., & Jarcho, J. M. (in press). Neural response to monetary and social feedback demonstrate differential associations with depression and social anxiety. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Olino, T. M., Case, J. A. C., Hawes, M. T., Szenczy, A. K., Nelson, B. D., & Klein, D. N. (in press). Testing invariance of measures of internalizing symptoms before and after a major life stressor: The impact of COVID-19 in an adolescent and young adult sample. Assessment.

Hawes, M. T., Szenczy, A. K., Hajcak, G., Klein, D. N., & Nelson, B. D. (in press). Increases in depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological Medicine.

Watson, D., Levin-Aspenson, H. F., Waszczuk, M. A., Conway, C. C., Dalgleish, T., Dretsch, M. N., Eaton, N. R., Forbes, M. K., Forbush, K. T., Hobbs, K. A., Michelini, G., Nelson, B. D., Sellbom, M., Slade, T., South, S. C., Sunderland, M., Waldman, I., Witthöft, M., Wright, A. G. C., Kotov, R., Krueger, R. F., & HiTOP Utility Workgroup (in press). Validity and utility of Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP): III. Emotional dysfunction superspectrum. World Psychiatry.

Ferry, R. & Nelson, B. D. (2021). Tactile P300 to unpredictable electric shocks: Associations with anxiety symptoms, intolerance of uncertainty, and neuroticism. Biological Psychology, 162, 108094.

Hawes, M. T., Szenczy, A., Olino, T., Nelson, B. D., & Klein, D. N. (2021). Trajectories of depression, anxiety, and pandemic experiences: A longitudinal study of youth in New York during the Spring-Summer of 2020. Psychiatry Research, 298, 113778.

Michelini, G., Perlman, G., Tian, Y., Mackin, D. M., Nelson, B. D., Klein, D. N., and Kotov, R. (2021). Multiple domains of risk factors for first onset of depression in adolescent girls. Journal of Affective Disorders, 283, 20-29.

Burani, K., Klawohn, J., Levinson, A., Klein, D. N., Nelson, B. D., & Hajcak, G. (2021). Neural responses to rewards, stress and sleep disturbance interact to prospectively predict depressive symptoms in adolescent girls. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 50, 131-140 .

Ferry, R. A., & Nelson, B. D. (2020). Differential impact of threat type on defensive motivation and attention during the NPU-threat task. Motivation and Emotion, 44, 670-685.

Burani, K., & Nelson, B. D. (2020). Gender differences in anxiety: The mediating role of sensitivity to unpredictable threat. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 153, 127-134.

Funkhouser, C. J., Correa, K. A., Gorka, S. M., Nelson, B. D., Phan, K. L., & Shankman, S. A. (2020). The replicability and generalizability of internalizing symptom networks across five samples. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 129, 191-203 .

Quarmley, M., Nelson, B. D., Clarkson, T., White, L., & Jarcho, J. M. (2019). I knew you weren’t going to like me? Neural response to accurately predicting rejection is associated with anxiety and depression. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 1-11.

Keifer, C., Hajcak, G., Hauschild, K. M., Nelson, B. D., & Lerner, M. D. (2019). Differences in the late positive potential and P300 to emotional faces in individuals with Autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49, 5009-5022.

Jin, J., Sabharwal, A., Infantolino, Z., Jarcho, J. M., & Nelson, B. D. (2019). Time-frequency delta activity to social feedback demonstrates differential associations with depression and social anxiety symptoms. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 1-13.

Kessel, E. M., Nelson, B. D., Finsaas, M., Kujawa, A., Meyer, A., Hajcak, G., … Klein, D. N. (2019). Parenting style moderates the effects of exposure to natural disaster-related stress on the neural development of reactivity to threat and reward in children. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 1589-1598.

Luking, K. R., Infantolino, Z. P., Nelson, B. D., & Hajcak, G. (2019). Age-typical changes in neural reward response are moderated by maternal anhedonia. Psychophysiology, 56, e13358.

Kuzava, S., Nissim, G., Frost, A., Nelson, B., & Bernard, K. (2019). Latent profiles of maternal neural response to infant emotional stimuli: Associations with maternal sensitivity. Biological Psychology, 143, 113-120.

Burani, K., Mulligan, E., Klawohn, J., Luking, K., Nelson, B., & Hajcak, G. (2019). Longitudinal increases in reward-related neural activity in adolescence: Evidence from event-related potentials (ERPs). Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 36, 100620.

Mackin, D. M., Kotov, R., Perlman, G., Nelson, B. D., Goldstein, B. L., Hajcak, G., & Klein, D. N. (2019). Reward processing and future life stress: Stress generation pathway to depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128, 305-314.

Mulligan, E. M., Hajcak, G., Klawohn, J., Nelson, B., & Meyer, A. (2019). Effects of menstrual cycle phase on associations between the error-related negativity and checking symptoms in women. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 103, 233-240.

Luking, K. R., Nelson, B. D., Infantolino, Z. P., Sauder, C. L., & Hajcak, G. (2018). Ventral striatal function interacts with positive and negative life events to predict concurrent youth depressive symptoms. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 3, 937-946.

Mulligan, E., Nelson, B. D., Infantolino, Z. P., Luking, K. R., Sharma, R., & Hajcak, G. (2018). Effects of menstrual cycle phase on electrocortical response to reward and depressive symptoms in women. Psychophysiology, 55, e13268.

Meyer, A., Nelson, B. D., Perlman, G., Klein, D. N., & Kotov, R. (2018). A neural biomarker, the error-related negativity, predicts the first onset of generalized anxiety disorder in a large sample of adolescent females. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59, 1162-1170.

Speed, B. C., Nelson, B. D., Levinson, A. R., Perlman, G., Klein, D. N., Kotov, R., & Hajcak, G. (2018). Extraversion, neuroticism, and the electrocortical response to monetary rewards in adolescent girls. Biological Psychology, 136, 111-118.

Kessel, E. M., Nelson, B. D., Kujawa, A. J., Hajcak, G., Kotov, R., Bromet, E., Carlson, G. A., & Klein, D. N. (2018). Hurricane Sandy exposure alters the development of neural reactivity to negative stimuli in children. Child Development, 89, 339-348.

Distefano, A., Jackson, F., Levinson, A., R., Infantolino, Z. P., Jarcho, J. M., & Nelson, B. D. (2018). A comparison of the electrocortical response to monetary and social reward. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13, 247-255.

Stevens, E. S., Weinberg, A., Nelson, B. D., Meissel, E. E. E., & Shankman, S. A. (2018). The effect of panic disorder versus anxiety sensitivity on event-related potentials during the anticipation of threat. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 54, 1-10.

Nelson, B. D., Infantolino, Z. P., Klein, D. N., Perlman, G., Kotov, R., & Hajcak, G. (2018). Time-frequency reward-related delta prospectively predicts adolescent-onset depression. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience & Neuroimaging, 3, 41-49.

Nelson, B. D., Kessel, E. M., Klein, D. K., & Shankman, S. A. (2018). Depression symptom dimensions and asymmetrical cortical activity while anticipating reward. Psychophysiology, 55, e12892.

Speed, B. C., Jackson, F., Nelson, B. D., Infantolino, Z. P., & Hajcak, G. (2017). Unpredictability increases the error-related negativity in children and adolescents. Brain and Cognition, 119, 25-31.

Nelson, B. D., Jackson, F., Amir, N., & Hajcak, G. (2017). Attention bias modification reduces neural correlates of response monitoring. Biological Psychology, 129, 103-110.

Parisi, E., Hajcak, G., Aneziris, E., & Nelson, B. D. (2017). Effects of anticipated emotional category and temporal predictability on the startle reflex. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 119, 67-72.

Nelson, B. D., & Hajcak, G. (2017). Defensive motivation and attention in anticipation of different types of predictable and unpredictable aversive stimuli: A startle and event-related potential investigation. Psychophysiology, 54, 1180-1194.

Faust, K., Nelson, B. D., Sarapas, C., & Pliskin, N. H. (2017). Depression and performance on the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status. Applied Neuropsychology: Adult, 24, 350-356.

Jackson, F., Nelson, B. D., Meyer, A., & Hajcak, G. (2017). Pubertal development and anxiety risk independently relate to startle habituation during fear conditioning in 8 to 14 year-old females. Developmental Psychobiology, 59, 436-448.

Luking, K. R., Nelson, B. D., Infantolino, Z. P., Sauder, C. L., & Hajcak, G. (2017). Internal consistency of fMRI and EEG measures of reward in late childhood and early adolescence. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2, 289-297.

Levinson, A. R., Speed, B., Nelson, B. D., Bress, J. N., & Hajcak, G. (2017). Authoritarian parenting predicts reduced electrocortical response to adolescent offspring rewards. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12, 363-371.

Nelson, B. D., & Hajcak, G. (2017). Anxiety and depression symptom dimensions demonstrate unique associations with the startle reflex in anticipation of unpredictable threat in 8 to 14 year-old girls. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 45, 397-410.

Nelson, B. D., Perlman, G., Klein, D. N., Kotov, R., & Hajcak, G. (2016). Blunted neural response to rewards as a prospective predictor of the development of depression in adolescent girls. American Journal of Psychiatry, 173, 1223-1230.

Gorka, S. M., Nelson, B. D., Phan, K. L., & Shankman, S. A. (2016). Intolerance of uncertainty and insula activation during the anticipation of reward. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 16, 929-939.

Nelson, B. D., Liu, H., Sarapas, C., & Shankman, S. A. (2016). Intolerance of uncertainty mediates the relationship between panic and the startle reflex in anticipation of unpredictable threat. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 7, 172-189.

Bjorkquist, O. A., Olsen, E. K., Nelson, B. D., & Herbener, E. S. (2016). Altered amygdala-prefrontal connectivity during emotion perception in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 175, 35-41.

Speed, B. C., Nelson, B. D., Auerbach, R. P., Klein, D. N., & Hajcak, G. (2016). Depression risk and electrocortical reactivity during self-referential emotional processing in 8 to 14 year-old girls. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125, 607-619.

Nelson, B. D., Kessel, E. M., Jackson, F., & Hajcak, G. (2016). The impact of an unpredictable context and intolerance of uncertainty on the electrocortical response to monetary gains and losses. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 16, 153-163.

Nelson, B. D., & Shankman, S. A. (2016). Visuospatial and mathematical dysfunction in major depressive disorder and/or panic disorder: A study of parietal functioning. Cognition & Emotion, 30, 417-429.

Chin, B., Nelson, B. D., Jackson, F., & Hajcak, G. (2016). Intolerance of uncertainty and startle potentiation in relation to different threat reinforcement rates. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 99, 79-84.

Jackson, F., Nelson, B. D., & Hajcak, G. (2016). The uncertainty of errors: Intolerance of uncertainty is associated with error-related brain activity. Biological Psychology, 113, 52-58.

Nelson, B. D., Bjorkquist, O. A., Olsen, E. K., & Herbener, E. S. (2015). Schizophrenia symptom and functional correlates of anterior cingulate cortex activation to emotional stimuli: An fMRI investigation. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 234, 285-291.

Nelson, B. D., Jackson, F., Amir, N., & Hajcak, G. (2015). Single-session attention bias modification and error-related brain activity. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 15, 776-786.

Nelson, B. D., Weinberg, A., Pawluck, J., Gawlowska, M., & Proudfit, G. H. (2015). An event-related potential investigation of fear generalization and intolerance of uncertainty. Behavior Therapy, 46, 661-670.

Nelson, B. D., Perlman, G., Hajcak, G., Klein, D. N., & Kotov, R. (2015). Familial risk for distress and fear disorders and emotional reactivity in adolescence: An event-related potential investigation. Psychological Medicine, 45, 2545-2556.

Nelson, B. D., Hodges, A., Hajcak, G., & Shankman, S. A. (2015). Anxiety sensitivity and the anticipation of predictable and unpredictable threat: Evidence from the startle response and event-related potentials. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 33, 62-71.

Nelson, B. D., Hajcak, G., & Shankman, S. A. (2015). Event-related potentials to acoustic startle probes during the anticipation of predictable and unpredictable threat. Psychophysiology, 52, 887-894.

Nelson, B. D., Fitzgerald, D. A., Klumpp, H., Shankman, S. A., & Phan, K. L. (2015). Prefrontal engagement by cognitive reappraisal of negative faces. Behavioural Brain Research, 279, 218-225.

Speed, B. C., Nelson, B. D., Perlman, G., Klein, D. N., Kotov, R., & Hajcak, G. (2015). Personality and emotional processing: A relationship between extraversion and the late positive potential in adolescence. Psychophysiology, 52, 1039-1047.

Jackson, F., Nelson, B. D., & Proudfit, G. H. (2015). In an uncertain world, errors are more aversive: Evidence from the ERN. Emotion, 15, 12-16.

Gorka, S. M., Nelson, B. D., Phan, K. L., & Shankman, S. A. (2014). Insula response to unpredictable and predictable threat in individuals with panic disorder and comorbid depression. Biology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, 4, 1-6.

Gorka, S. M., Lieberman, L., Nelson, B. D., Sarapas, C., & Shankman, S. A. (2014). Aversive responding to safety signals in panic disorder: The moderating role of intolerance of uncertainty. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 28, 731-736.

Nelson, B. D., Bishop, J. R., Sarapas, C., Kittles, R. A., & Shankman, S. A. (2014). Asians demonstrate reduced sensitivity to unpredictable threat: A preliminary startle investigation using genetic ancestry in a multiethnic population. Emotion, 14, 615-623.

Gorka, S. M., Huggins, A. A., Fitzgerald, D. A., Nelson, B. D., Phan, K. L., & Shankman, S. A. (2014). Neural response to reward anticipation in those with depression with and without panic disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 164, 50-56.

Shankman, S. A., Gorka, S. M., Nelson, B. D., Fitzgerald, D. A., Phan, K. L., & O’Daly, O.G. (2014). Anterior insula responds to temporally unpredictable aversiveness: an fMRI study. NeuroReport, 25, 596-600.

Sarapas, C., Katz, A. C., Nelson, B. D., Campbell, M. L., Bishop, J. R., Robison-Andrew, E. J., … Shankman, S. A. (2014). Are individual differences in appetitive and defensive motivation related? A psychophysiological examination in two samples. Cognition & Emotion, 28, 636-655.

Nelson, B. D., Shankman, S. A, & Proudfit, G. H. (2014). Intolerance of uncertainty mediates reduced reward anticipation in major depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 158, 108-113. 

Campbell, M. L., Gorka, S. M., McGowan, S. K., Nelson, B. D., Sarapas, C., Katz, A. C., … Shankman, S. A. (2014). Does anxiety sensitivity correlate with reductions in startle habituation? An examination in two independent samples. Cognition & Emotion, 28, 46-58.

Altman, S. E., Campbell, M. L., Nelson, B. D., Faust, J. P., & Shankman, S. A. (2013). The relation between symptoms of bulimia nervosa and obsessive-compulsive disorder: A startle investigation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122, 1132-1141.

Nelson, B. D., McGowan, S. K., Sarapas, C., Robison-Andrew, E. J., Altman, S. E., Campbell, M. L., … Shankman, S. A. (2013). Biomarkers of threat and reward sensitivity demonstrate unique associations with risk for psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122, 662-671.

Gorka, S. M., Nelson, B. D., & Shankman, S. A. (2013). Startle response to unpredictable threat in comorbid panic disorder and alcohol dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 132, 216-222.

Shankman, S. A., Nelson, B. D., Sarapas, C., Robison-Andrews, E. J., Campbell, M. L., Altman, S. E., … Gorka, S. M. (2013). A psychophysiological investigation of threat and reward sensitivity in individuals with panic disorder and/or major depressive disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122, 322-338.

Gorka, S. M., McGowan, S. K., Campbell, M. L., Nelson, B. D., Sarapas, C., Bishop, J. R., & Shankman, S. A. (2013). Association between respiratory sinus arrhythmia and reductions in startle responding in three independent samples. Biological Psychology, 93, 334-341.

Gorka, S. M., Nelson, B. D., Sarapas, C., Campbell, M. L., Lewis, G. F., Bishop, J. R., Porges, S. W., & Shankman, S. A. (2013). Relation between respiratory sinus arrhythmia and startle response during predictable and unpredictable threat. J ournal of Psychophysiology, 27, 95-104.

Lee, H., Heller, A. S., van Reekum, C., Nelson, B. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2012). Amygdala-prefrontal coupling underlies individual differences in emotion regulation. NeuroImage, 62, 1575-1581.

Nelson, B. D., Sarapas, C., Robison-Andrew, E. J., Altman, S. E., Campbell, M. C., & Shankman, S. A. (2012). Frontal brain asymmetry in depression with comorbid anxiety: A neuropsychological investigation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 579-591. 

Nelson, B. D., Shankman, S. A., Olino, T. M., & Klein, D. N. (2011). Defining reactivity: How several methodological decisions can affect conclusions about emotional reactivity in psychopathology. Cognition & Emotion, 25, 1439-1459.

Shankman, S. A., Robison-Andrew, E. J., Nelson, B. D., Altman, S. E., & Campbell, M. L. (2011). Effects of predictability of shock timing and intensity on anxious responses. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 80, 112-118.

Shankman, S. A., Klein, D. N., Torpey, D. C., Olino, T. M., Dyson, M. W., Kim, J., Durbin, C. E., Nelson, B. D., & Tenke, C. E. (2011). Do positive and negative temperament traits interact in predicting risk for depression? A resting EEG study of 329 preschoolers. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 551-562.

Nelson, B. D. & Shankman, S. A. (2011). Does intolerance of uncertainty predict anticipatory startle responses to uncertain threat? International Journal of Psychophysiology, 81, 107-115.

Shankman, S. A., Nelson, B. D., Harrow, M., & Faull, R. (2010). Does physical anhedonia play a role in depression? A 20-year longitudinal study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 120, 170-176.