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Phobias, Panic and Post-Traumatic Stress Will Be Focus of Talk at Susquehanna

Published on September 16, 2011

Those who suffer from chronic fear—phobias, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress—may find potential relief when renowned scientist Kerry Ressler discusses “Fear and Its Inhibition: From Mice to Men” Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. in Susquehanna University’s Degenstein Center Theater. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ressler will discuss his research on fear-related disorders, including findings leading to new treatments for phobias, panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He hopes that understanding how fear works in mammals’ brains in the laboratory will improve our understanding of—and lead to preventive treatments for—fear-based disorders.

Ressler conducts cutting-edge research on the molecular biology, neural circuitry and behavioral biology of fear, and treats individuals with fear-related disorders as a psychiatrist. “I think his presentation will be an excellent opportunity for our community to see how work in basic research and applied practice inform and influence each other, and this should be especially interesting when the example is a primary human emotion,” said Lucien T. Winegar, dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences at Susquehanna.

Ressler is assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland. He received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University and his M.D. from Harvard University School of Medicine.

Ressler’s lecture is the latest in Susquehanna’s Claritas Distinguished Speaker in the Sciences Series, organized by the School of Natural and Social Sciences and funded by an endowment from alumni George E. and Margaret Lauver Harris. The series supports lectures, seminars or residencies by internationally recognized leaders to discuss topics in the public interest.

The event is also among those supporting the university’s theme for the 2011–12 academic year, Fear. The annual theme presents a year-long opportunity for the Susquehanna community to examine and discuss a central idea or question, both in and out of the classroom. The theme creates a common experience among students, encouraging intellectual engagement; creating a diverse community; and supporting communication, collaboration and creativity across campus. Other theme-related events earlier this month included a lecture by David Ropeik, author of “How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts,” and several activities over Homecoming-Reunion Weekend.


Karen M. Jones


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