Emily Ansell, Ph.D.

BBRF Grantee: 2015 – 2017

Pennsylvania State University

(Received BBRF Grant while at Syracuse University)

Dr. Ansell will investigate neural system dysfunctions underlying suicidality and explore a possible drug intervention for high-risk individuals—in this case, people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Suicidality is thought to be a result of dysregulation in a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex (PFC). A compound called Guanfacine HCl has been shown to ameliorate PFC dysregulation. Thirty patients with BPD will undergo brain imaging before receiving either Guanfacine or a placebo and after eight weeks of treatment. Dr. Ansell hopes these results will identify Guanfacine as a pharmaceutical method of reducing suicidality as well as provide further evidence for the PFC’s role in emotional and impulse regulation.