HRI welcomes Post-Doctoral Fellow advancing PTSD research

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We are pleased to welcome Braeden Terpou, PhD, to the HRI team as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. Joining us through the Mitacs Elevate program, Dr. Terpou is using brain imaging to improve our understanding of trauma and its impact on the brain. Find out how his discoveries will help to inform better care for people living with PTSD.

Image of Dr. Braeden Terpou, PhD

Dr. Braeden Terpou is passionate about mental health and neurotechnology. While pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at McMaster University, his fascination for neuroscience led him to work in the Neuroplasticity and Neurotechnology Lab under the direction of Dr. Sue Becker. He went on to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience from Western University, during which time he held the Jonathan and Joshua Memorial Graduate Scholarship (2020, 2021). Through his continued involvement with the Jonathan and Joshua Memorial Fund, he has participated in various webinars exploring mental health and COVID-19.

Dr. Terpou’s early research focused on the deeper brain regions involved in shaping our emotional or affective lives, such as the midbrain, brainstem and cerebellum. These regions operate below conscious awareness and are altered significantly in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may explain why midbrain emotions, such as fear, panic and shame are commonly experienced by people with PTSD.

As a Mitacs Elevate Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Terpou is exploring how these deep brain regions can serve as biomarkers of PTSD. Using advanced brain imaging techniques, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and multimodal imaging, he measures which areas of the brain are altered most profoundly in PTSD, and how the brain changes over time.

“As we better understand the neural underpinnings of PTSD, we can inform and improve treatment approaches for people who have experienced significant traumatic events,” says Dr. Terpou.

“By targeting unique brain regions therapeutically to reduce intense feelings of fear, shame and panic, we can also help people with PTSD to process trauma more effectively, with an ultimate aim to improve treatment response and outcomes.”

In this fellowship role, Dr. Terpou works alongside Dr. Margaret McKinnon, who is Homewood Chair in Mental Health and Trauma. To follow his work, visit Dr. Terpou’s Research Gate profile.