Contact Information:
9500 Gilman Drive MC 0804
La Jolla, CA 92093


Dr. Risbrough serves as the Co-Associate Director of CESAMH’s Neuroscience Research Unit and Professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Risbrough received her B.A. degree in Psychology and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCSD. She joined as faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD in 2007 and became Professor in 2016. Dr. Risbrough has been the Principal Investigator on awards from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Addictions, NARSAD, California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program, Veteran’s Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense.  She is Associate Editor for the journal Neurobiology of Stress and has been guest editor for Neuropharmacology and Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience.  She serves on Scientific Council for the Anxiety and Depression Association for America and the Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation (NARSAD).  She is a member of the Molecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling study section for NIH and has served Ad Hoc reviewer on multiple DOD and VA study sections, as well as for the NIMH Scientific Council.  She has recently served for the NIMH Stress Workshop and NASA Mars Mission workshop.

Research/Clinical Interests

Dr. Risbrough’s research is centered on translational mechanisms and treatments of anxiety disorders using preclinical and clinical approaches. Her primary focus is understanding mechanisms of risk and resilience to trauma and stress disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. She uses molecular, pharmacological, electrophysiological and genetic techniques in mice to understand mechanisms underlying development and maintenance of enduring effects of severe stress and blast injury.  In her clinical work she uses genetic, pharmacological, imaging and psychophysiology to understand cognitive mechanisms underlying PTSD and identify potential novel treatments.  By measuring peripheral and physiological responses to stress (including peripheral immune and hormone responses, heart rate, startle reactivity and EEG measures of sleep) in animal models and in clinic, her research develops translational probes of anxiety responding and treatment efficacy.  With this information, she hopes to inform diagnostic tool development for trauma disorders and identify novel targets of pharmacotherapeutics.

To participate in current research studies, please visit VASDHS and  VMRF.

Selected Publications