Alan N. Simmons, Ph.D.
Assistant Adjunct Professor
Telephone #: (858) 642-3547


Dr. Simmons received his B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of California at San Diego and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. After completing a predoctoral internship in clinical neuropsychology at Oak Forest Hospital in Illinois, he joined the laboratories of Professors Murray Stein and Martin Paulus as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Simmons is the Associate Chief of Functional Neuroimaging for the Center of Excellence in Stress and Mental Health at the San Diego VA Healthcare System.

Research Focus

Dr. Simmons’s research focuses on neuroimaging of emotional systems such as anticipatory and affective appraisal. He has conducted studies on posttraumatic stress disorders, trait anxiety, neuropsychopharmacology, and depression. Dr. Simmons is collaborating with other investigators on the study of pain processing, traumatic brain injury, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and eating disorders. In addition, he is working on novel computational models for imaging analysis. Dr. Simmons has received early career funding from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD) and from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Selected Publications

• Simmons, A., Stein, M.B., Matthews, S.C., Feinstein, J.S., & Paulus, M.P. (2006). Affective ambiguity for a group recruits ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Neuroimage, 29(2), 655-661.

• Matthews, S.C., Simmons, A.N., Strigo, I., Jang, K., & Paulus, M.P. (2007). Heritability of anterior cingulate response to conflict: an fMRI study in female twins. NeuroImage, 38(1):223-227.

• Strigo, I.A., Simmons, A.N., Matthews, S.C., Craig, A.D., & Paulus, M.P. (2008). Major depressive disorder is associated with altered functional brain response during anticipation and processing of heat pain. Arch. General Psychiatry, 65(11):1275-1284.

• Simmons A.N., Paulus, M.P., Thorp, S.R., Matthews, S.C., Norman, S.B., Stein, M.B. (2008). Functional Activation and Neural Networks in Women with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Related to Intimate Partner Violence. Biol Psychiatry, 64(8):681-690.

• Simmons, A.N., Strigo, I.A., Matthews, S.C., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2009). Initial evidence of a failure to activate right anterior insula during affective set shifting in PTSD. Psychosomatic Medicine, in press.


University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: