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Current NLAMH Team

Dr. Marisa M. Silveri, PhD, MHC, is a Neuroscientist and the Director of the Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health at McLean Hospital. She is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Silveri has been conducting extensive research for over 25 years in the fields of brain development, addiction, and mental health. Her team uses various tools, including MRI, to investigate the neurobiological aspects of healthy brain development, the initiation and consequences of substance use, and the risk of addictive and other psychiatric disorders. Dr. Silveri is a leader in studying the role of the brain neurotransmitter GABA in adolescent brain development as a contributor to alcohol and drug use, depression, and anxiety. Her team is also exploring potential neurobiological mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of yoga in improving mental health. Additionally, they are investigating the intersections between biological sex and gender identity, the role of puberty and sex hormones, and developing therapeutic interventions centered on forgiveness for treating adolescent depression and anxiety.

Dr. Silveri is the recipient of several awards from the Research Society on Alcohol and research and mentoring awards from McLean Hospital. She has been continually funded to conduct research by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2004, including a K24 career grant in which she provides academic mentorship to clinicians conducting patient-oriented research. Dr. Silveri has authored over 85 peer-reviewed scientific publications, reviews, and textbook chapters. She recently completed clinical training to work with adolescents and parents as a mental health counselor at the Arlington Youth Counseling Center in Massachusetts.

Dr. Silveri is passionate about public outreach and has been committed to it for over two decades. She has spoken extensively to communities on adolescent brain development, addiction, and mental health, with over 150 talks given to date. She serves as a neuroscience translator, providing biopsychosocial education to the public about brain development, addiction, mental health, and, more recently, treatment interventions for adolescent anxiety and depression. She is the Public Education Liaison for the Research Society on Alcohol, the Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research journal, and Newswise, a scientific research outlet for journalists. This initiative delivers the latest alcohol research to the general public.

Assistant Director: Jennifer T. Sneider, PhD

Dr. Jennifer T. Sneider is an Associate Neuroscientist at McLean Hospital, Assistant Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School, and Assistant Director of the Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health with training in behavioral neuroscience, including preclinical and clinical studies. Her graduate work focused on examining the effects of estrus cycle and sex differences on hippocampal place cell firing during spatial navigation using a rodent model. 

She transitioned to a postdoctoral position in the Brain Imaging Center at McLean Hospital and, for the past 20 years, has been building her career around identifying sex differences in clinical populations. Dr. Sneider’s research has primarily focused on using a virtual version of the Morris Water Task (MWT) with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine sex differences. She employed a translational approach to investigate how sex differences manifest in human hippocampal function, substance use disorders, and psychiatric conditions, specifically major depressive disorder in women. Her exposure to structural MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) has helped her combine these techniques with fMRI to provide a valuable multimodal approach to understanding the neurobiology of addiction and mental illness. 

She has explored sex differences in various populations, including chronic cannabis users, emerging adult binge drinkers, women with major depressive disorder, and healthy adolescents. Dr. Sneider’s work to date has been funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) R03 (ISTART) grant and NARSAD Young Investigator Award (Brain & Behavior Research Foundation), which focused on women with depression and included GABA as an outcome measure. 

In Dr. Silveri’s Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, she has contributed to all of her NIAAA-funded studies (R01s, R21) and foundation funding. Specifically, she has led investigations of sex differences, hormone levels, and menstrual cycle studies. Our research has examined various topics such as binge drinking, adolescent brain development, and initiation of alcohol use, as well as sex differences in hippocampal structure, function, and neurochemistry as a function of the menstrual cycle phase. Her current work is exploring how yoga can help ameliorate mood and anxiety symptoms in underrepresented youth.

Julia Cohen-Gilbert, PhD

Dr. Cohen-Gilbert is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Associate Neuroscientist in the Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, McLean Imaging Center.

Dr. Cohen-Gilbert’s work employs cognitive and behavioral measures in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy to investigate the role of brain development in cognitive and emotional regulation during adolescence. She is particularly interested in dynamic prefrontal-limbic interactions that contribute to impulsive or risky behavior in this age group. In the Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health, she has focused her research on questions regarding the initiation and perpetuation of substance use and abuse during adolescence.

Dr. Cohen-Gilbert conducts NIAAA-funded research examining neural and cognitive factors predicting adverse outcomes in college drinkers and works with Dr. Marisa Silveri on a longitudinal adolescent neuroimaging study investigating the consequences of early onset alcohol use. Dr. Cohen-Gilbert also collaborates with the McLean Acute Residential Treatment Program to study cognitive-emotional regulation and early treatment outcomes in dually diagnosed adolescents.

Lab Members

Andie Stallman, M.A.

Luisa Fernandes

Tim O'Brien

Lilly Wehmeyer

Ava Romero

Rebecca Quaye