Poornima Kumar, PhD

Assistant Professor of  Psychiatry

Laboratory for Affective and Translational Neuroscience

McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Office: deMarneffe Building, office 233A
Phone: 617-855-4244

Email: pkumar@mclean.harvard.edu

Ph.D., Medical Imaging, University of Aberdeen, 2008

B.E., Instrumentation and Control, Madras University, 2002

poornima_full

 

Research Interests

My research interests focus on investigating the mechanisms through which humans learn and process reinforcements (both rewards and punishments) and how these processes might contribute to psychiatric disorders, particularly depression. I utilize computational modeling and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to better understand these mechanisms. I am also interested in understanding how neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, are involved in these learning processes. Dopamine has been widely reported to aid reinforcement learning, specifically learning from positive stimuli. However, its involvement in aversive learning is not completely understood. My objective is to use acute pharmacological (dopamine and serotonin) manipulations to parse out their involvement in appetitive and aversive learning and further our understanding of depression, helping to build better treatments.