Lauren Y. Atlas, Ph.D.
Lab Staff—Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain
Lauren Y. Atlas, Ph.D.
Phone: (301) 827-0214
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. Her laboratory uses a multi-modal approach to investigate how expectations and learning influence pain and emotion, and how these factors influence clinical outcomes.
- Dominik Mischkowski, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Mischkowski received his M.S. in psychology in 2008 from the University of Konstanz (Germany), where he completed a master’s thesis under the supervision of Dr. Sean McCrea. Afterwards, he moved to the United States to earn his Ph.D. in psychology from The Ohio State University in 2015, where he worked with Dr. Jennifer Crocker and Dr. Baldwin Way. His doctoral work combined a psychopharmacological approach with social psychological paradigms to study how suppressing physical pain sensitivity influences social affect, perception, and behavior. His interests concern how the social environment shapes people’s experience of physical pain, as well as how physical pain regulates people’s social interactions. Dr. Mischkowski joined Dr. Atlas Affective Neuroscience and Pain lab at the NCCIH in 2015, where he will receive training in fMRI to study the psychosocial influences on physical pain perception and processing.
- Troy Dildine, Postbac IRTA Fellow
As a postbac IRTA Fellow at NIH, Troy will be using imaging and psychophysiological measures to study the role of expectancy on affect. Prior to the NIH, Troy completed a thesis under the mentorship of Professor Catherine Norris and spent a year under the guidance of Professor Tiffany Ito at the University of Colorado Boulder. Troy graduated with a B.A. with Honors in Neuroscience, Dartmouth College 2013. Outside of the laboratory, Troy is into trail running, meditating, and watching slam poetry.
- Esther Palacios-Barrios, Postbac IRTA Fellow
As a postbac IRTA fellow at NIH, Esther will use imaging and psychophysiological techniques to study expectancy and pain. Previously, Esther was a research assistant in the Dr. Ian Gotlib lab at Stanford University, where Esther completed her honors thesis on motivational anhedonia in individuals with pure and comorbid major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. She also worked in the Dr. Rebecca Bernert lab at Stanford. Esther holds a B.A. in psychology (with honors) from Stanford.
- Lauren Banker, Summer Student
- Bethany Leidi, Summer Student
- Bethany Sauls, Summer Student
- Caitlin Stavish, Special Volunteer
Chrissy Sandman - Chrissy served as a postbac research assistant in the Atlas lab, working on a project that uses fMRI and psychophysiology to investigate how expectations shape aversive conditioning. In 2014 Chrissy earned her B.A. from New York University, where she designed an interdisciplinary major, “Emotion in the Mind-Body Problem” that combined neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and music. Her psychology honors thesis, completed under the mentorship of Dr. Lauren Atlas, received the outstanding departmental research award. She is interested broadly in mind-body interactions, the placebo response, and clinical applications of cognitive affective science. When she is not doing science, she is also a musician. New York University, BA summa cum laude
Division of Intramural Research
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Building 10, Room 4-1741
Bethesda, MD 20892