Research Program

Our Current Studies

Not everyone experiences a traumatic event such as a car accident, sexual assault, or natural disaster in the same way. Although some may recovery over time, others may continue to experience symptoms months and even years after the traumatic event. Indeed, individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder often experience involuntary retrieval of horrific memories, including intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares for months or even years following the trauma. We are committed to better understanding how PTSD develops, its persistence over time, and how to better tailor our clinical interventions to improve clinical outcomes.

Understanding the Etiology and Maintenance of PTSD

FEMALE Stress Study
Principal Investigator: Natalia Garcia, M.S.

Do you handle STRESS well? Help us learn more about stress and hormones! Women ages 18-40 may be eligible to participate in a research study at the University of Washington. The study involves completing a brief telephone assessment and, if eligible following assessment, completing a one-time 2 hour study visit. During this visit, participants provide a saliva sample and complete questionnaires and a computer task. Participants will receive up to $40 for participation in the study visit.

Call Natalia at (206) 685-9043 (and press “1” to leave a message for the Female Stress Study).

UW Memory Study
Principal Investigator: Libby Marks, M.S.

After a traumatic event, many individuals experience intrusive and distressing memories of what happened.  The UW Memory Study seeks to better understand how people remember traumatic events and the effects of past experiences on intrusive memories.  If you have experienced a traumatic event at some point in your life and would like to participate in this research study, please give us a call.

Contact Libby at (206) 685-9043 or

Undergraduate Opportunities Available (Psych 499)

We typically have a number of opportunities available for undergraduate research assistants, typically between 6-9 hours per week and asking for at least a two to three quarter commitment. Please call (206) 685-3617 and, if you leave a message, clearly indicate that you are an undergraduate wanting to work in the lab.

Personalizing and Enhancing PTSD Treatment

Project STEP
Principal Investigator: Michele Bedard-Gilligan, Ph.D.

Survivors of a traumatic event may suffer for years afterward. Project STEP is a study on the effects of marijuana use on a brief treatment for psychological reactions following trauma. If you have been raped, attacked, or have experienced a car accident or combat, and you are 18 years or older, you may be eligible for a research study that provides no cost, confidential treatment. We are seeking participants with and without marijuana use. The study includes a no-cost evaluation, 6 daily no-cost treatment sessions, 3 months of follow-up visits, and up to $135 in gift cards for compensation.

Visit for more information or contact Heidi at 206-685-3617 or (University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences).

Islamic Trauma Healing for Somali Victims of War and Violence
Principal Investigator: Lori Zoellner, Ph.D.

The Islamic Trauma Healing program (ITH) was developed out of the need for the Somali refugee community to address psychological distress in a culturally-sensitive setting. The program seeks to address the psychological wounds of trauma in the Somali community and to promote reconciliation with one another after years of violence and conflict.

Optimizing PTSD Treatments (OPT)
Principal Investigator: Lori Zoellner, Ph.D.

We are interested in understanding what treatment works for whom, focusing on the role of patient preferences, augmentation of psychotherapy with a pharmacotherapy, and biopsychosocial markers of treatment response.

Interested in participating?

Contact us!