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Victoria Risbrough

Victoria B. Risbrough, PhD

Professor in Residence, Department of Psychiatry, UC San Diego
Associate Director of Neuroscience, Veterans Affairs Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health
Faculty, Neurosciences Graduate Program, UC San Diego

Contact Information

Phone: 619.543.2900

Location: CTF-A Room A308

Mailing Address:
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive #0804
La Jolla, CA 92093

Lab Website

Dr. Risbrough is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego and Associate Director of Neuroscience for the Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health for Veterans Affairs. She is an alumnus of the Neuroscience Graduate Program (1999-2004). Her research is centered on translational mechanisms and treatments of anxiety and depression particularly trauma-related disorders. She leads a dual preclinical/clinical research program focusing on identifying mechanisms of risk and resilience to post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as development of new pharmacological treatments for these disorders. She uses homologous physiological and behavioral measures of trauma response across rodents and humans to develop translational probes of anxiety responding and treatment efficacy. Her preclinical laboratory uses behavioral, pharmacological, genetic and molecular techniques to identify genetic and circuit mechanisms of enduring trauma responses. Her clinical work examines mechanisms underlying core disruptions of fear learning and inhibition in trauma-related disorders, as well as development of novel pharmacological treatments targeting these mechanisms. Examples of her clinical work include her directorship of the Neurocognition Project of the Marine Resiliency Study, assessing neurocognitive, biological and psychophysiological markers of risk for PTSD in combat exposed individuals. She is on the Scientific Council for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, is a Fellow of the American College of Neuropharmacology, is on Scientific Council for the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF) and is Associate Editor of Neurobiology of Stress. She has served on grant review panels for NIH and DOD. She has received funding from NARSAD, NIDA, NIMH, NIAAA, VA, DOD and TRDRP and Navy BUMED. She has successfully mentored trainees to procure NRSA, VA CDA, and NARSAD (BBRF) funding.

Select Publications:
For all papers see:
  1. Deslauriers J, Toth M, Der-Avakian A, Risbrough VB. Current Status of Animal Models of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Behavioral and Biological Phenotypes, and Future Challenges in Improving Translation. Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Nov 20.pii: S0006-3223(17)32210-2.
  2. Stout DM, Acheson DT, Moore TM, Gur RC, Baker DG, Geyer MA, Risbrough VB Individual variation in working memory is associated with fear extinction performance. Behav Res Ther. 2018 Jan 5;102:52-59.
  3. Breen MS, Tylee DS, Maihofer AX, Neylan TC, Mehta D, Binder EB, Chandler SD, Hess JL, Kremen WS, Risbrough VB, Woelk CH, Baker DG, Nievergelt CM, Tsuang MT, Buxbaum JD, Glatt SJ. PTSD Blood Transcriptome Mega-Analysis: Shared Inflammatory Pathways across Biological Sex and Modes of Trauma. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018 Feb;43(3):469-481.
  4. Deslauriers J, Acheson DT, Maihofer AX, Nievergelt CM, Baker DG, Geyer MA, Risbrough VB; Marine Resiliency Study Team. COMT val158met polymorphism links to altered fear conditioning and extinction are modulated by PTSD and childhood trauma. Depress Anxiety. 2018 Jan;35(1):32-42. d
  5. Deslauriers J, Powell S, Risbrough VB. Immune signaling mechanisms of PTSD risk and symptom development: insights from animal models. Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2017 Apr;14:123-132.
  6. Glenn DE, Acheson DT, Geyer MA, Nievergelt CM, Baker DG, Risbrough VB. Fear learning alterations after traumatic brain injury and their role indevelopment of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Depress Anxiety. 2017 Aug;34(8):723-733.
  7. Risbrough VB, Glenn DE, Baker DG. On the Road to Translation for PTSD Treatment: Theoretical and Practical Considerations of the Use of Human Models of Conditioned Fear for Drug Development. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2016;28:173-96.
  8. Toth M, Flandreau EI, Deslauriers J, Geyer MA, Mansuy IM, Merlo Pich E,Risbrough VB. Overexpression of Forebrain CRH During Early Life Increases Trauma Susceptibility in Adulthood. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016 May;41(6):1681-90.
  9. Minassian A, Maihofer AX, Baker DG, Nievergelt CM, Geyer MA, Risbrough VB. Association of Predeployment Heart Rate Variability With Risk of Postdeployment Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Active-Duty Marines. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Oct;72(10):979-86.