National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
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Lab Staff—Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain

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Principal Investigator

 
Lauren Atlas, Ph.D.

Lauren Y. Atlas, Ph.D.

Tenure-track Investigator
Phone: (301) 827-0214
E-mail: lauren.atlas@nih.gov

Dr. Atlas received her B.A. in psychology from The University of Chicago in 2003, and her Ph.D. in psychology in 2011 from Columbia University, where she studied under the mentorship of Dr. Tor D. Wager. Her doctoral work combined functional magnetic resonance imaging, experimental psychology, and psychopharmacology to examine the mechanisms by which beliefs and expectations influence pain and its modulation. Her dissertation, “Brain mechanisms of expectancy effects on pain experience,” was awarded with distinction. Dr. Atlas’s postdoctoral research was conducted in Dr. Elizabeth A. Phelps’s laboratory at New York University, where she extended computational models of decision-making to isolate components of expectancy, and to understand how these components influence physiological and neural markers of aversive learning. In July 2014, Dr. Atlas joined NIH as an NCCIH investigator and chief of the Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain. She also holds a joint appointment with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Her laboratory uses a multi-modal approach to investigate how expectations and learning influence pain and emotion, and how these factors influence clinical outcomes.

Lab Members

Elizabeth Necka, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Necka, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

Liz Necka, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral IRTA fellow and will conduct research on the social and autonomic factors which are related to the experience of pain, and will be exploring how individual differences in expectations about and perceptions of the social world, as well as the patient-provider interaction, are related to processing of noxious stimuli. This research will take a multi-modal approach, and will include collecting neuroimaging, psychophysiological, and behavioral data from healthy volunteers. Dr. Necka received her Ph.D., as well as her master’s, in psychology from the University of Chicago. While there, she worked in Greg Norman’s lab, where her dissertation research examined the relations between hormonal fluctuations across the menstrual cycle and women’s perceptions of and behaviors towards others.
View Dr. Necka’s publications
 

Olga Oretsky, Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow

Olga Oretsky is a postbac IRTA research fellow who will be studying the effects of psychological processes on pain perception in healthy adults. To this end, she will gather and analyze neuroimaging, psychophysiological, and participant self-report data. Olga received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with majors in psychology and biochemistry. As an undergraduate, she worked in the translational biomedical research laboratory of Dr. Marni Falk, where she studied mitochondrial disease. She also completed an independent study on Generalized Anxiety Disorder under the supervision of Dr. Ayelet Ruscio.
 

Troy Dildine, Predoctoral IRTA Fellow

As a predoctoral IRTA fellow through the Graduate Partnership Program, Troy will be pursuing a Ph.D. in medicine between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Karolinska Institutet. Troy will be using neuroimaging and psychophysiological measures to study health disparities in pain. Prior to this, Troy spent two years as a postbac IRTA fellow at NCCIH. Troy completed an honors thesis in neuroscience at Dartmouth College under the mentorship of Professor Catherine Norris, and he spent a year under the guidance of Professor Tiffany Ito at the University of Colorado Boulder. Outside of the laboratory, Troy enjoys running ultra-marathons, meditating, fikas, and slam poetry.

 

 

Lab Alumni
 

Dominik Mischkowski, Ph.D.

Dominik Mischkowski, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow​​​​​​​ - Dr. Mischkowski is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at Ohio University.
 

Esther Palacios-Barrios

Esther Palacios-Barrios, Postbac IRTA Fellow - Esther is now a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.
​​​​​​​

Lauren Banker

Lauren Banker, Postbac IRTA Fellow   Lauren is now a Ph.D. student in the Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida.

     

    Chrissy Sandman - Chrissy is now a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

     

     

    (from L to R): Bethany Sauls, Bethany Leidl, Caitlin Stavish, Lauren Banker
    (from left): Bethany Sauls, Bethany Leidl,
    Caitlin Stavish, Lauren Banker

    • Lauren Banker, Summer Student
    • Bethany Leidi, Summer Student
    • Bethany Sauls, Summer Student
    • Caitlin Stavish, Special Volunteer
       
    Division of Intramural Research
    National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
    Building 10, Room 4-1741
    Bethesda, MD 20892

    Back to Division of Intramural Research

     

    This page last modified April 11, 2018