Morris Laboratory

Morris Laboratory

The Cognitive and High-resolution Imaging in Psychiatry (CHIP) Lab

The Cognitive and High-resolution Imaging in Psychiatry (CHIP) Lab 

The Cognitive and High-resolution Imaging in Psychiatry (CHIP) Lab was established in 2019 and has two major research streams.

The first seeks to optimize and test high-resolution multimodal neuroimaging techniques for precision imaging in psychiatric patients, with applications in biofeedback-based treatment options. There is a particular focus on discerning phylogenetically old structures in the midbrain and brainstem, including the ventral tegmental area, substantia nigra and locus coeruleus. Modalities used include high-resolution functional MRI, sub-millimeter structural MRI and neurite orientation dispersion density imaging (NODDI).

The second research stream aims to develop novel and specialized cognitive tasks to measure a range of cognitive constructs, related to motivation, self-agency, and reward versus punishment processing, with relevance to a range of psychiatric disorders, not limited to depression, anxiety and addiction. These cognitive tools are used behaviorally and inside the scanner in a laboratory setting, and are measured longitudinally and remotely via smartphone application.

The CHIP Lab collaborates closely with:

– Depression and Anxiety Centre for Discovery and Treatment
– Advanced Neuroimaging Research Program
– BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute
– Bachi Laboratory

Dr. Laurel Morris, PhD
laurel.morris@mssm.edu

Current Projects

  • Characterizing Constructs of Motivation and the Midbrain Dopaminergic System in Depression with Ultra-high Field MRI (left image).
  • Real-time Biofeedback with 7-Tesla MRI for Neurocircuit Based Treatment of Depression (middle image).
  • Using Digital Technology to Monitor Mood and Anxiety Disorders (right image).

Funding & Awards

  • K01MH120433 (PI: Morris)
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award (PI: Morris)
  • Nash Family Scholar Award (PI: Morris)
  • ANRP Pilot Research Grant (PI: Morris)
  • R01MH116953 (Co-I: Morris)

Recent Publications

Team

Dr. Laurel Morris
laurel.morris@mssm.edu

Laurel is the Director of the Morris Lab. She completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Cambridge in 2017 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at ISMMS. She has expertise in the development and utilization of neurocognitive assessments for in-depth characterizations of cognitive function in a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, and in optimizing high-field 7-Tesla MRI protocols to examine large and small brain structures. 

Gracee Butler
grace.butler@icahn.mssm.edu

Gracee Butler completed her BA degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Systems Integration (HSI) from San Jose State University. In undergrad, she assisted on projects related to memory and cognition in studies investigating online learning in the CLIMB Lab; and upon graduation, building on her interests in human learning capabilities, worked as a summer, and then post-bac research intern through the CSLI program at Stanford in the Language and Cognition Lab. In joining the CHIP lab and Depression and Anxiety Center (DAC) as a clinical research coordinator, Gracee works to build upon her interests in executive function, and cognitive control of emotional and rational choice behavior, by assisting on neuroimaging projects related to decision-making; thereafter pursuing a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology.  

Jacqueline Beltrán
jacqueline.beltran@icahn.mssm.edu

Jacqueline Beltrán graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she earned a B.S. in Biopsychology. Upon graduating, she went on to complete a post-bac through the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program where her research efforts involved using neuroimaging to study the neurobehavioral syndrome of misophonia. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience under the mentorship of Drs. Laurel Morris and James Murrough. In the lab, Jacqueline works on a randomized, controlled clinical trial of ultra-high field 7-Tesla MRI neurofeedback training for Major Depressive Disorder and a project using digital sensors in smartphones to monitor and gain insight of various psychiatric disorders. 

Emerald Obie
emerald.obie@mssm.edu

Emerald is a second-year MA psychology student at New York University and is working on her master’s thesis at the Morris lab. She completed her bachelor’s in brain sciences from Purdue University. Through coursework and lab experiences, she became interested in behavioral neuroscience and decided to pursue a graduate degree. In 2021, she joined the Morris lab to gain a deeper understanding of the brain and sharpen her clinical research skills. Her future goal is to continue in research, either in industry or in a Ph.D. program.

Alumni

Morgan Corniquel
morgan.corniquel@mssm.edu

Morgan received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master’s degree from New York University. In 2018, Morgan joined the Depression and Anxiety Center to continue exploring her interests in the neurobiological underpinnings of psychiatric disorders. Morgan is now enrolled in an MD/PhD program at Boston University. 

Marishka Mehta
marishka.mehta@mssm.edu

Marishka completed her master’s thesis at the Morris lab. She completed her bachelor’s in biomedical sciences from Queen Mary, University of London. She went on to get graduate training in neurobiology from the University of Bordeaux and Laval University, where she developed an interest in the midbrain dopaminergic system. At the Morris lab, she explored reward and punishment learning in the context of depression. She is now enrolled in a PhD program at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research.

Megan Go

megan.go@mssm.edu

Megan obtained her medical degree (MD) in 2019 at the Cebu Institute of Medicine after finishing her undergraduate studies in both integrative neuroscience and biochemistry. Her interests lie in the neurobiology and neuropharmacology of psychiatric illnesses, particularly mood disorders. Megan is now furthering her training and pursuing residency in psychiatry.

Nishat Amin

Nishat ‘Nicki’ Amin received her bachelor’s in Psychology from St. John’s University. She is interested in emotion reactivity and regulation and wants to focus on the dynamics and limitations of developmental trajectories in individuals who experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Nishat is excited to further her focus on depression, anxiety, and addiction using neuroimaging and cognitive tools.  

Collaborators:

Dr. Korey Kam, Dr. Yael Jacob, Dr. Karen Bachi, Prof. Priti Balchandani, Prof. James Murrough

Please contact us if you are interested in collaborating or joining the Lab. 

Location
1399 Park Ave.
Office Phone: 212-241-6539
Laurel.Morris@mssm.edu