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Frances H. Gabbay, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Scientist,
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress

Frances Gabbay, PhD, is Research Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Staff Scientist in the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, and Director of the Clinical Psychophysiology and Psychopharmacology Laboratory. Dr. Gabbay received a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a PhD in Psychology from Indiana University. Under the auspices of the Big Ten Consortium Committee on Institutional Cooperation, she also studied at the University of Minnesota, where she affiliated with the NIMH Predoctoral Training Program in Behavioral Genetics, focusing on psychophysiology and the study of addiction. After completing postdoctoral training in psychopharmacology, Dr. Gabbay held a faculty position in the Department of Mental Hygiene at The Johns Hopkins University and was a Guest Researcher in the Section on Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology at the NIMH Intramural Research Program, where she worked in the Unit on Psychophysiology.

Her research conforms to the view that mental disorders reflect extreme ends of continuously distributed dimensions, variation in which results from the interplay of multiple genetic and environmental influences. She uses event-related brain potentials, psychopharmacological challenge, and personality measures to characterize normal variation in dimensions implicated in substance use disorders – reward and control, for example – and to evaluate the role of those dimensions in risk and resilience for substance-related problems, in particular, their co-occurrence with posttraumatic stress disorder. Dr. Gabbay has served as Principal Investigator on grants to support her research from NIDA, NIAAA, the US Army, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. Gabbay also contributes to a collaborative sleep research study with Harvard Medical School. This study links Army STARRS administrative data with clinical data from the Sleep Disorders Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to identify factors that predict individual variation in response to treatment for sleep disturbances. In the longer term, this work will form the basis for clinical tools to improve treatment selection for individuals with PTSD-related and other sleep disturbances.

Dr. Gabbay has participated in collaborative efforts sponsored by the CSTS and Department of Psychiatry to develop new vantage points from which to consider challenges facing military leaders. These efforts have convened military and civilian experts to address such issues as stressors confronted by military families as they transition from wartime to peace; stigma surrounding psychological and behavioral problems and barriers to care for those problems; and the implications for military readiness of sex differences in response to stress.

Dr. Gabbay is active in the Society for Psychophysiological Research, having served as a member of the Board of Directors, an Associate Editor for Psychophysiology, and Scientific Program Chair for the annual meeting. She is currently the SPR Affiliate Representative to the Psychology and Neuroscience sections of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She served multiple terms as the SPR Council Representative to the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences and is currently serving on the FABBS Board of Directors. Dr. Gabbay is a member of the Editorial Board of Policy Insights of the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, which publishes research and scientific reviews relevant to public policy, and has served as ad hoc reviewer on NIDA and NIAAA study sections, for the annual meeting of the AAAS, and for numerous scientific journals.