PhD Candidate, Sarah Henderson, to Start New Postdoc Position

On May 8, 2013 by Elizabeth Molina-Markham

sarah_feature_editedThe Graduate Forum would like to congratulate Sarah Henderson, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, on her new position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan, New York. Henderson plans to graduate this summer and begin working in New York City this June. She is currently finishing up her dissertation on the influence of ambivalence on executive functioning and cigarette smoker’s emotional and neural responses to smoking cues.

Henderson grew up in Cheshire, Connecticut, and completed her undergraduate studies at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, majoring in psychology and political science. After graduating, she worked as a paralegal at a law firm, but then quickly realized that she did not want to pursue a law career.

Next, Henderson worked as a research assistant at the Children’s National Medical Center, conducting quality of life research with children suffering from epilepsy, Tourette’s Syndrome, neurofibromatosis, and autism. To this day she remains involved with Brainy Camps, a week-long summer camp for children with chronic health conditions. In addition, she volunteers weekly at David’s House, a volunteer-run home-away-from-home dedicated to supporting the families of children being treated at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

After working at the Children’s National Medical Center, Henderson worked for a contract research agency where she conducted pharmaceutical research for the National Institutes of Health. Following this, Henderson decided to come to Dartmouth to pursue her PhD in cognitive neuroscience in order to work with some of the top people in the field.

Henderson works with Professor Catherine Norris and employs fMRI and eye tracking as a means for studying ambivalence (i.e., emotional conflict), self-regulation, and addiction. Her dissertation examines how ambivalence, or the state of having contradictory feelings toward something, affects cognitive processing and subsequently, the regulation of cigarette smoking. For example, she found that when viewing images of smoking, participants with a desire to quit smoking showed less activity in reward regions of the brain and more activity in regions associated with internally directed attention.

In her time at Dartmouth, Henderson has presented posters at academic conferences, including the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society, the Society for Social Neuroscience, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Henderson was also the recipient of the 2011 Basic Psychological Science Research Grant from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students.

In her new postdoctoral fellowship position at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Henderson will research pediatric mood and anxiety disorders, using a variety of neuroimaging and neurobiological techniques. Along with her advisor, Vilma Gabbay, she will investigate new ways to improve the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of many of these disorders.

We wish Henderson all the best in her new position!

by Andrea Worsham

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