The crucial support of the Rappaport Family Fund has allowed Dr. Holt to complete her studies in the field of schizophrenia functional neuroimaging. Completing and publishing the results of these studies will allow her to become an established investigator in this field, with state-of-the-art-training in the techniques of functional MRI, cognitive neuroscience, and clinical investigation in psychiatry.
Dr. Daphne Holt, PhD, is co-director of the Schizophrenia Clinical and Research Program and an investigator in the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Mass General. Her mother was an atomic physicist whose deep passion for her work inspired Dr. Holt to follow a similar path. Dr. Holt is using virtual reality technology to learn more about how individuals with schizophrenia process perceived intrusions of their personal space.
To understand the changes in brain function that give rise to this abnormality, Dr. Holt and her team have developed a novel experimental paradigm specifically designed to elicit this bias. Using this paradigm and the spatiotemporal imaging techniques developed at the MGH Martinos Center in Charlestown, her team is attempting to identify the timing and the functional neuroanatomy of this affective misattribution bias in psychotic patients with schizophrenia. After they have characterized the pattern of brain activity associated with this bias in psychosis, they will then determine whether they can detect the identical pattern in at-risk individuals who later go on to develop schizophrenia.