Research at the SCAN Lab

The SCAN Lab's research is based in the desire to understand the development of cognitive and affective brain processes and how these processes are affected by stressful events.

Current Studies

The PENGuIN Study

The PENGuIN Study, part of a NIDA Center of Excellence with the University of Oregon, looks at thinking and mood in individuals from pregnancy through the first year postpartum. We are interested in how thinking patterns and mood may change when individuals are in treatment for opioid use. We collect information on thinking, feeling, and the brain during and after pregnancy, as well as infant and parent interactions and infant development. This information may help us find ways to better support parents throughout the postpartum period.

To learn more about the PENGuIN Study, visit our FAQ page.

Funded by NIDA (P50DA048756-01).

To learn more about this study or to see if you may be eligible to participate, call the SCAN lab at 503-933-0608 or email penguinstudy@ohsu.edu.

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The COPE Study (Affiliated)
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The COPE Study is currently recruiting participants.

The COPE Study is a study that aims to learn more about people’s experiences and feelings during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are currently recruiting pregnant people between 20 and 34 weeks gestation. We are recruiting both substance-using and non-substance-using participants.

Participants will complete two sets of surveys online. The first set of surveys will be completed every 2 weeks for up to 12 weeks during pregnancy to see how feelings and experiences change over time. Participants will complete the second set of surveys at 1 month postpartum, 6 months postpartum and 12 months postpartum. The first set will take about 15-20 minutes, and the second set will take about one to one and a half hours.

We may ask to collect biological samples from participants and their babies. This can be done at OHSU or at home with a collection kit and detailed instructions. These samples may include saliva, hair, nails, blood and breast milk at various time points during pregnancy and postpartum.

We may also ask participants for birth samples which would include placenta samples as well as cord samples collected at delivery.

Lastly, we may ask participants to complete a visit with study staff observing their infant’s behavior at 6 months old. This visit can be done remotely.

If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact the INSPIRE lab at inspire@ohsu.edu or 503-494-5577.

This study is in collaboration with NYU and is part of a larger, international COVGEN collaboration, read about this here https://www.covgen.org

Completed Studies

The Maternal Well-Being Study
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Postpartum depression is a major public health concern, with consequences that can be enduring for women and their children. However, few evidence-based preventative interventions are available for women at high risk for developing postpartum depression.

The focus of the Maternal Well-Being Study was  to connect women with training in skills that promote well-being, reduce mood symptoms, and improve emotional responding during pregnancy and postpartum. We used neuroimaging (Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI) to examine how a mindfulness-based intervention, MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), for pregnant women who may be at heightened risk for developing depressive symptoms may work to reduce mood symptoms postpartum. 

Funded by the NIH (1R21AT010292-01) and Medical Research Foundation of Oregon.

The Roo Study on Mom and Baby Well-Being (Affiliated)
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The Roo Study examined potential effects of a mindfulness intervention, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), during pregnancy. MBCT connects women with training in skills that promote well-being, reduce mood symptoms, and improve emotional responding during pregnancy and postpartum. We collected data on mental stress and well-being during pregnancy, as well as infant brain development and well-being postpartum. We examined infant brain development with an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This data will provide important information on mood and stress during pregnancy, and how it relates to infant brain development. 

Funded by the NIMH. 

Defining the Impact of Stress on Correctional Officers (DISCO)

Correctional officers (CO’s) have high levels of chronic which negatively influence their mental well-being, physical health and job performance. No neuroimaging studies to date have used fMRI to examine the impact of stress on CO’s. Applying fMRI imaging to higher stress and lower stress CO’s will provide insight into how cognitive functions important to the CO’s job may be adversely impacted by chronic stress. Furthermore, no prior studies have related biomarkers to fMRI findings among law enforcement officers or CO’s. By comparing different biomarkers against perceived stress measures and fMRI changes, we will build the first allostatic or stress index for CO’s. This index could be used to easily identify those at highest stress levels for targeted interventions and/or index effects of worksite-wide programs to reduce or mitigate chronic stress among CO’s. In addition to providing an understanding of the neurocognitive effects of stress using fMRI, we will relate and prioritize the work-related causes of stress and its economic consequences among CO’s. We hope that our work identifying the sources and effects of stress will help us with the long-term goal of developing strategies to reduce stress and its impact and improve the health of those that work in corrections.

This study is funded by the NIJ. 

Teen Stress Study

Stress during childhood and adolescence can impact brain development, at times leading to difficulties with regulation of emotions and behaviors, effective coping, thinking, memory, and learning. We also know that it increases risk for developing clinical disorders. These difficulties may in turn influence an individual's ability to perform well at school, at work, and in social situations.

The goal of this project is to examine how stressful life experiences impact brain development in adolescents. We collect this information through interviewing parents and teens, as well as having teens complete cognitive and emotional tasks. The results of this project can help us understand how teens think and feel at different ages and how stress may affect their thinking and feelings. 

Funded by the NIH K23 MH105678, KL2 TR000152, Medical Research Foundation, and Tartar Foundation (pilot funds).