Emory University neuroscientist Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD, was recently named one of 15 new Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigators - considered by HHMI to be the nation's top physician-scientists who will ensure basic research discoveries are translated into improved treatments for patients.
Dr. Ressler is a researcher at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and an ACTSI Investigator doing his clinical research at the Grady Memorial Hospital CIN site. He is the first practicing psychiatrist to be appointed an HHMI investigator.
Dr. Ressler's research is focused on uncovering the biological mechanisms that cause fear. In partnership with researchers Michael Davis, PhD, Yerkes Research Center and Emory University School of Medicine, and Barbara Rothbaum, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Ressler developed a treatment for anxiety-related disorders, such as fear of heights and social anxiety disorder.
Dr. Ressler, who also is co-director of the PTSD program at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, plans to expand clinical trials to include both war veterans and inner-city residents in Atlanta who have been traumatized by exposure to violence. Additionally, Dr. Ressler's preclinical work, based at Yerkes at Emory, examines the molecular and neural mechanisms of fear learning and the process of recovery from fear.