Sponsored by the UCLA Brain Mapping Center Faculty

The focus of these talks is on advancing the use of brain mapping methods in neuroscience with an emphasis on contemporary issues of neuroplasticity, neurodevelopment, and biomarker development in neuropsychiatric disease.

Hosted By: Shantanu Joshi, PhD, Neurology, UCLA

“Using Virtual Reality to Map Brain Mechanisms of Stress and Anxiety Psychopathologies”

Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology
Department of Psychiatry and New York State Psychiatric Institute
Columbia University Medical Center


Understanding the brain mechanisms underlying discrimination of threat, safety, and reward within a context is essential to improve treatment strategies for patients with anxiety and stress related psychopathologies. My research focuses on developing and validating innovative virtual reality (VR) tasks to study brain mechanisms of complex behavior. With my research we have delineated brain networks that learn to discriminate between threat and safety in an environment. Further, we show how these processes deviate in psychopathologies of anxiety and stress. Such assessment is instrumental in identifying when those with severe stress and anxiety deviate from their resilient counterparts with respect to the brain mechanisms that increase the risk of chronic disease. With these novel VR platforms, I aim to find biomarkers or psychopathology to guide much-needed ways to advance personalized treatment options for patients.

October 1, 2020 11:00am - 12:00pm PDT
For more information contact: Mary Susselman (310-206-4291,
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