Victoria B. Risbrough, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor

CTRIN Website

 

Contact Information

T: (619) 543-2900
F: (619) 543-2493
vrisbrough@ucsd.edu

Biography

Dr. Risbrough received her B.A. degree in Psychology and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. She joined as faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD in 2007 and became Associate Professor in 2012. She is the Associate Director of Neuroscience for the Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health at the San Diego Veterans Healthcare System. Dr. Risbrough is the Principal Investigator on awards from the National Institute of Mental Health, NARSAD, Veteran’s Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense. She is also Director of the Neurocognition Project for the Marine Resiliency Study funded by Navy BUMED. She was the Guest Editor for the Special Issue on PTSD for Neuropharmacology and is an Associate Editor for a number of pharmacology journals. She is also a member of the Molecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling study section for NIH. Dr. Risbrough’s research is centered on translational mechanisms and treatments of anxiety disorders using preclinical and clinical approaches. Her primary focus is to identify mechanisms of risk and resilience to anxiety disorders, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder as well as development of new pharmacological treatments for these disorders. For example, she examines the contribution of corticotropin releasing factor to stress and anxiety responses using pharmacological and genetic techniques in mice. Her program also identifies genetic and environmental contributions to stress behavior and fear learning. For example she has recently been funded to examine the role of the COMTVal158Met polymorphism in PTSD risk and treatment response. By measuring physiological responses to stress (including heart rate and startle reactivity) in animal models and in clinic, her research develops translational probes of anxiety responding and treatment efficacy.

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Risbrough’s research is centered on translational mechanisms and treatments of anxiety disorders using preclinical and clinical approaches. Her primary focus is understanding mechanisms of risk and resilience to anxiety disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder. For example, she examines the contribution of corticotropin releasing factor to stress and anxiety responses using pharmacological and genetic techniques in mice. Her program also identifies genetic and environmental contributions to stress behavior and fear learning. By measuring physiological responses to stress (including heart rate and startle reactivity) in animal models and in clinic, her research develops translational probes of anxiety responding and treatment efficacy.

Clinical Focus

The goal of our work is to understand the basic mechanisms underlying anxiety and fear responses, as well as to identify biological factors contributing to the risk of and resilience to development of anxiety disorders. With this information we hope to develop better measures of treatment response in anxiety disorders and identify novel targets of pharmacotherapeutics.

Publications

  • Risbrough V, Brodkin J, Geyer M (2003) GABA-A and 5-HT1A receptor agonists block-fear potentiated startle in mice. Neuropsychopharmacology 28(4):654-63.
  • Risbrough VB, Hauger RL, Roberts AL, Vale WW, Geyer MA (2004) Corticotropin-releasing factor receptors CRF1 and CRF2 exert both additive and opposing influences on defensive startle behavior. Journal of Neuroscience 24:6545-6552.
  • Risbrough VB, Stein MA (2006) Role of Corticotropin Releasing Factor in anxiety disorders: A translational research perspective. Hormones and Behavior, 50:550-561
  • Risbrough VB, Geyer MA, Hauger RL, Coste S, Stenzel-Poore M, Wurst W, Holsboer F. (in press) CRF(1) and CRF(2) Receptors are Required for Potentiated Startle to Contextual but not Discrete Cues. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Nov 19 Epub.
  • Risbrough, VB (in press) Behavioral Correlates of Anxiety. In Stein M, Steckler T (Eds) Behavioral Neurobiology of Anxiety and its Treatment, Elsevier, London, UK.