Jennifer Stevens, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

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BIRCWH Scholar: 2018 - 2019

Jennifer Strafford Stevens is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, conducting human neuroscience research at the Grady Trauma Project where she is Associate Director of Research. Dr. Andrew Miller served as her mentor during her BIRCWH appointment. She received her B.S. in Psychology at the University of Georgia, and Ph.D. in Cognitive and Developmental Psychology at Emory. She uses neuroimaging approaches to probe brain function in healthy individuals, and neurobiological pathways promoting stress vulnerability or resilience. Neural circuits supporting emotional arousal and memory encoding are particularly important for adapting to trauma and other forms of environmental stress. She has investigated individual differences in these circuits in normative and trauma-exposed populations of adults and children. A second major theme of her research has been to understand sex differences in emotion-related brain function, and the brain basis of women’s increased risk for trauma-related psychopathology. She addresses these questions using cognitive tasks to probe behavioral and subjective aspects of emotion and memory, and neurobiological measures such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scalp electrophysiology, and autonomic physiological measures. Her research also combines genomics and cognitive neuroscience research to characterize stress vulnerability pathways that link SNPs, expression and methylation, neural circuits, and behavior. During her training for the BIRCWH award, she will extend these methods to study PTSD risk in women with breast cancer at the Avon Breast Center at Grady Memorial Hospital.



Awards received 

2018: Society of Biological Psychiatry Early Career Investigator Travel Fellowship

2019: Best panel presentation, Emory Brain Health Center Research Day


Grant Funding

R01 – PI: Title: Neuroendocrine Mechanisms of Risk for Trauma-related Psychopathology in Women



2018 - Women’s subcommittee of the Faculty Development Committee, Emory Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Member

2019 - Faculty Development Committee, Emory Brain Health Center, Member


Publications: View PubMed