Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Haiyue (Heidi) Jin Rose Hills

Effects of Psychedelics on Social Defeat Stress-Induced Compulsivity

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a multifaceted disorder affecting about 8.0% of the general population. PTSD patients exhibit comorbid symptoms of severe compulsive behaviors, including compulsive checking and sexual behaviors, illness concerns, and mental rituals, which all hinder patients’ daily life functioning. Currently, the main treatments administered are antidepressants, but they have limited effect. Alternatively, psychedelics like 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) show promising therapeutic effects on reducing anxiety and fear expression in preclinical mice, but their effects on compulsivity are unknown. Psychedelics act through serotonin and such a mechanism could regulate compulsivity. My study aims to further determine DOI’s therapeutic potential on PTSD symptoms and asks specifically whether DOI affects PTSD-induced expressions of compulsivity in mice. I hypothesize that a single DOI injection will lower PTSD-induced compulsivity. My findings will not only further uncover the relationship between PTSD and compulsivity but also contribute to future investigations on the potential mechanistic pathways using the preclinical models utilized in this study.

Message To Sponsor

I sincerely appreciate the continuing support from my donors, the SURF program, Professor Kaufer, and everyone in my lab. It is such an honor to be a SURF Fellow and have the opportunity to devote myself to my project. The SURF program truly encourages me to pursue research further while staying explorative and innovative.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology (Neurobiology); Legal Studies
Mentor: Daniela Kaufer
Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills
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