Asst. Prof Regina Lapate awarded prestigious NIH grant to elucidate prefrontal mechanisms of emotional processing and regulation

July 10, 2023

Psychological & Brain Sciences Assistant Professor Regina Lapate was awarded a $2.3m grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the organization and function of the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) in emotional processing and regulation. Emotion regulation deficits are a hallmark of mood and anxiety disorders, which afflict over 20% of adults in the United States. Poor emotion regulation is often characterized by the context-inappropriate expression of emotion, including the unwarranted persistence and influence of negative states outside their temporal context. With the support of this award, Dr. Lapate’s team (the LEAP Neuro lab) will test a model of lateral prefrontal organization that postulates that affective and temporally extended information are integrated in the most anterior portion of LPFC–the lateral frontal pole–to inform context-sensitive affective responding via downstream function of a posterior LPFC region, the mid-LPFC. To that end, this work will combine advanced multivariate analysis of fMRI data and individualized (participant-tailored) causal methods (transcranial magnetic stimulation/TMS) to establish the functional and representational specificity of distinct prefrontal regions in emotion. Ultimately, this work will help advance a theoretical model of how prefrontal function may support adaptive time-and-context appropriate responses in the face of emotional challenges.

Congratulations, Dr. Lapate!